Aim: Incretin enhancers are a new class of antidiabetic drugs with promising therapeutic potential for type 2 diabetes. Therapeutic intervention in prediabetes is an attractive strategy for preventing or delaying diabetes onset. The aim of the present study was to investigate the therapeutic effects of incretin enhancement on incipient impaired glucose tolerance (iIGT) and manifest IGT (mIGT) using the dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPP-4) inhibitor P32/98- and fatty Zucker rat (ZR, fa/fa) as a model.
Methods: ZRs were classified into groups with iIGT and mIGT (n = 10 per group). P32/98 (21.61 mg/kg body weight) was administered orally to ZR with iIGT and mIGT once daily for 6 and 3 weeks respectively. Assessments included body weight, morning blood glucose and insulin, oral glucose tolerance test (oGTT; 2 g glucose/kg), plasma parameters and blood glucose day–night profile (DNP). In addition, glucose responsiveness of isolated islets and islet morphology were analysed.
Results: P32/98 decreased non-fasting morning blood glucose more effectively in ZR with iIGT than in ZR with mIGT. Compared with study entry, P32/98 improved DNP of blood glucose in ZR with mIGT and nearly normalized DNP in ZR with iIGT. An acute bolus of inhibitor reduced glucose load during oGTT in rats chronically treated with placebo or P32/98. In contrast to placebo-treated rats, rats receiving long-term treatment with P32/98 required less insulin during oGTT. This effect was larger in rats with iIGT vs. rats with mIGT. In isolated pancreatic islets of ZR with mIGT, treatment with P32/98 decreased pancreatic insulin content and increased glucose responsiveness, while the β-cell volume density was unaffected. P32/98 significantly reduced triglycerides and non-esterified fatty acids. Intestinal growth was comparable between inhibitor- and placebo-treated fatty rats.
Conclusions: Enhancement of incretin with the DPP-4 inhibitor P32/98 has therapeutic effects in hyperinsulinaemia, hyperglycaemia and IGT in ZR with iIGT and mIGT. Apparently, administration of P32/98 in ZR with iIGT results in more efficient β-cell function, which is associated with less need for insulin to cope with deterioration of glucose tolerance. Importantly, P32/98 has a strong effect on dyslipidaemia in mIGT. P32/98 has no side effect on intestinal growth. Daily intake of P32/98 is a promising strategy for treatment of glucose intolerance and has the potential to prevent type 2 diabetes.