Glucagon-like peptide-1 is a hormone secreted by L cells of the small intestine and stimulates glucose-dependent insulin response. Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists such as exendin-4 are currently used in type 2 diabetes, and considered to have beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system. To further elucidate the effect of glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists on cardiovascular diseases, we investigated the effects of exendin-4 on intimal thickening after endothelial injury. Under continuous infusion of exendin-4 at 24 nmol/kg/day, C57BL/6 mice were subjected to endothelial denudation injury of the femoral artery. Treatment of mice with exendin-4 reduced neointimal formation at 4weeks after arterial injury without altering body weight or various metabolic parameters. In addition, in vitro studies of isolated murine, rat and human aortic vascular smooth muscle cells showed the expression of GLP-1 receptor. The addition of 10nM exendin-4 to cultured smooth muscle cells significantly reduced their proliferation induced by platelet-derived growth factor. Our results suggested that exendin-4 reduced intimal thickening after vascular injury at least in part by the suppression of platelet-derived growth factor-induced smooth muscle cells proliferation.
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