- Type 2 diabetes
- Endocrine and exocrine pancreas lesions
- Cytoprotective properties
- ZDF rat
The purpose of this study was to investigate some of the possible mechanisms underlying the protective effects of a dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPP-IV) inhibitor, sitagliptin, on pancreatic tissue in an animal model of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), the Zucker Diabetic Fatty (ZDF) rat, focusing on glycaemic, insulinic and lipidic profiles, as well as, on apoptosis, inflammation, angiogenesis and proliferation mediators.
Male obese diabetic ZDF (fa/fa) rats, aged 20 weeks, were treated with sitagliptin (10 mg/kg bw/day) during 6 weeks and compared to untreated diabetic and lean control littermates. Metabolic data was evaluated at the beginning and at the end of the treatment, including glycaemia, HbA1c, insulinaemia, HOMA-beta and TGs. Endocrine and exocrine pancreas lesions were assessed semiquantitatively by histopathological methods. Pancreas gene (mRNA) and protein expression of mediators of apoptotic machinery, inflammation and angiogenesis/proliferation (Bax, Bcl2, IL-1β, VEGF, PCNA and TRIB3) were analyzed by RT-qPCR and/or by immunohistochemistry.
Sitagliptin treatment for 6 weeks (between 20 and 26 week-old) was able to significantly (p < 0.001) ameliorate all the metabolic parameters, by preventing the increase in blood glucose and in serum TGs contents (16.54% and 37.63%, respectively, vs untreated), as well as, by preventing the decrease in serum insulin levels and in the functional beta cells capacity accessed via HOMA-beta index (156.28% and 191.74%, respectively, vs untreated). Sitagliptin-treated diabetic rats presented a reduced pancreas Bax/Bcl2 ratio, suggestive of an antiapoptotic effect; in addition, sitagliptin was able to completely reduce (p < 0.001) the pancreas overexpression of IL-1β and TRIB3 found in the untreated diabetic animals; and promoted a significant (p < 0.001) overexpression of VEGF and PCNA.
In this animal model of obese T2DM (the ZDF rat), sitagliptin prevented β-cell dysfunction and evolution of pancreatic damage. The protective effects afforded by this DPP-IV inhibitor may derive from improvement of the metabolic profile (viewed by the amelioration of glucose and TGs levels and of insulin resistance) and from cytoprotective properties, such as antiapoptotic, anti-inflammatory, pro-angiogenic and pro-proliferative.