Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist treatment reduces beta cell mass in normoglycaemic mice

J.H. Ellenbroek, H.A. Tons, M.J. Westerouen van Meeteren, N. de Graaf, M.A. Hanegraaf, T.J. Rabelink, F. Carlotti, E.J. de Koning

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review


AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: Incretin-based therapies improve glycaemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes. In animal models of diabetes, glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1RAs) increase beta cell mass. GLP-1RAs are also evaluated in non-diabetic individuals with obesity and cardiovascular disease. However, their effect on beta cell mass in normoglycaemic conditions is not clear. Here, we investigate the effects of the GLP-1RA liraglutide on beta cell mass and function in normoglycaemic mice. METHODS: C57BL/6J mice were treated with the GLP-1RA liraglutide or PBS and fed a control or high-fat diet (HFD) for 1 or 6 weeks. Glucose and insulin tolerance tests were performed after 6 weeks. BrdU was given to label proliferating cells 1 week before the animals were killed. The pancreas was taken for either histology or islet isolation followed by a glucose-induced insulin-secretion test. RESULTS: Treatment with liraglutide for 6 weeks led to increased insulin sensitivity and attenuation of HFD-induced insulin resistance. A reduction in beta cell mass was observed in liraglutide-treated control and HFD-fed mice at 6 weeks, and was associated with a lower beta cell proliferation rate after 1 week of treatment. A similar reduction in alpha cell mass occurred, resulting in an unchanged alpha to beta cell ratio. In contrast, acinar cell proliferation was increased. Finally, islets isolated from liraglutide-treated control mice had enhanced glucose-induced insulin secretion. CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: Our data show that GLP-1RA treatment in normoglycaemic mice leads to increases in insulin sensitivity and beta cell function that are associated with reduced beta cell mass to maintain normoglycaemia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1980-1986
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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