Background: Exenatide (exendin-4) can reduce blood glucose levels, increase insulin secretion and improve insulin sensitivity through mechanisms that are not completely understood.
Methods: In the present study, we examined the effects of exenatide treatment on glucose tolerance (intravenous glucose tolerance test), insulin sensitivity (euglycaemic-hyperinsulinaemic clamps), insulin signalling (insulin receptor substrate 1 tyrosine phosphorylation) and adipocytokine levels (visfatin and adiponectin) in high fat-fed rats.
Results: Administration of exenatide (0.5 or 2.0 mug/kg twice daily x 6 weeks) prevented high-fat diet (HFD)-induced increases in body weight, plasma free fatty acids, triglycerides and total cholesterol. Exenatide also prevented HFD-induced deterioration in peripheral and hepatic insulin sensitivity, insulin clearance, glucose tolerance and decreased tyrosine phosphorylation of insulin receptor substrate-1 (IRS-1) in fat and skeletal muscles. Interestingly, plasma visfatin levels decreased in exenatide-treated rats, whereas expression and plasma levels of adiponectin increased.
Conclusions: These results indicate that chronic exenatide treatment enhances insulin sensitivity and protects against high fat-induced insulin resistance.