Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists suppress water intake independent of effects on food intake

Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2011 Dec;301(6):R1755-64. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00472.2011. Epub 2011 Oct 5.


Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) is produced by and released from the small intestine following ingestion of nutrients. GLP-1 receptor (GLP-1R) agonists applied peripherally or centrally decrease food intake and increase glucose-stimulated insulin secretion. These effects make the GLP-1 system an attractive target for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity. In addition to these more frequently studied effects of GLP-1R stimulation, previous reports indicate that GLP-1R agonists suppress water intake. The present experiments were designed to provide greater temporal resolution and site specificity for the effect of GLP-1 and the long-acting GLP-1R agonists, exendin-4 and liraglutide, on unstimulated water intake when food was and was not available. All three GLP-1R ligands suppressed water intake after peripheral intraperitoneal administration, both in the presence of and the absence of food; however, the magnitude and time frame of water intake suppression varied by drug. GLP-1 had an immediate, but transient, hypodipsic effect when administered peripherally, whereas the water intake suppression by IP exendin-4 and liraglutide was much more persistent. Additionally, intracerebroventricular administration of GLP-1R agonists suppressed water intake when food was absent, but the suppression of intake showed modest differences depending on whether the drug was administered to the lateral or fourth ventricle. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of GLP-1 receptor agonists affecting unstimulated, overnight intake in the absence of food, the first test for antidipsogenic effects of hindbrain application of GLP-1 receptor agonists, and the first test of a central effect (forebrain or hindbrain) of liraglutide on water intake. Overall, these results show that GLP-1R agonists have a hypodipsic effect that is independent of GLP-1R-mediated effects on food intake, and this occurs, in part, through central nervous system GLP-1R activation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Drinking / drug effects*
  • Eating / drug effects*
  • Exenatide
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / analogs & derivatives*
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / pharmacology*
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor
  • Liraglutide
  • Male
  • Peptides / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Glucagon / agonists*
  • Time Factors
  • Venoms / pharmacology*


  • Glp1r protein, rat
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor
  • Peptides
  • Receptors, Glucagon
  • Venoms
  • Liraglutide
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1
  • Exenatide