Background: Uremic cardiomyopathy contributes substantially to mortality in chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients. Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) may improve cardiac function, but is mainly degraded by dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4).
Methodology/principal findings: In a rat model of chronic renal failure, 5/6-nephrectomized [5/6N] rats were treated orally with DPP-4 inhibitors (linagliptin, sitagliptin, alogliptin) or placebo once daily for 4 days from 8 weeks after surgery, to identify the most appropriate treatment for cardiac dysfunction associated with CKD. Linagliptin showed no significant change in blood level AUC(0-∞) in 5/6N rats, but sitagliptin and alogliptin had significantly higher AUC(0-∞) values; 41% and 28% (p = 0.0001 and p = 0.0324), respectively. No correlation of markers of renal tubular and glomerular function with AUC was observed for linagliptin, which required no dose adjustment in uremic rats. Linagliptin 7 µmol/kg caused a 2-fold increase in GLP-1 (AUC 201.0 ng/l*h) in 5/6N rats compared with sham-treated rats (AUC 108.6 ng/l*h) (p = 0.01). The mRNA levels of heart tissue fibrosis markers were all significantly increased in 5/6N vs control rats and reduced/normalized by linagliptin.
Conclusions/significance: DPP-4 inhibition increases plasma GLP-1 levels, particularly in uremia, and reduces expression of cardiac mRNA levels of matrix proteins and B-type natriuretic peptides (BNP). Linagliptin may offer a unique approach for treating uremic cardiomyopathy in CKD patients, with no need for dose-adjustment.