Agents that augment GLP-1 effects enhance glucose-dependent β-cell insulin production and secretion and thus are hoped to prevent progressive impairment in insulin secretion characteristic of type 2 diabetes (T2D). The purpose of this study was to evaluate GLP-1 effects on β-cell secretory capacity, an in vivo measure of functional β-cell mass, early in the course of T2D.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS
We conducted a randomized controlled trial in 40 subjects with early T2D who received the GLP-1 analog exenatide (n = 14), the dipeptidyl peptidase IV inhibitor sitagliptin (n = 12), or the sulfonylurea glimepiride (n = 14) as an active comparator insulin secretagogue for 6 months. Acute insulin responses to arginine (AIRarg) were measured at baseline and after 6 months of treatment with 5 days of drug washout under fasting, 230 mg/dL (glucose potentiation of arginine-induced insulin release [AIRpot]), and 340 mg/dL (maximum arginine-induced insulin release [AIRmax]) hyperglycemic clamp conditions, in which AIRmax provides the β-cell secretory capacity.
The change in AIRpot was significantly greater with glimepiride versus exenatide treatment (P < 0.05), and a similar trend was notable for the change in AIRmax (P = 0.1). Within each group, the primary outcome measure, AIRmax, was unchanged after 6 months of treatment with exenatide or sitagliptin compared with baseline but was increased with glimepiride (P < 0.05). α-Cell glucagon secretion (AGRmin) was also increased with glimepiride treatment (P < 0.05), and the change in AGRmin trended higher with glimepiride than with exenatide (P = 0.06).