Glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide and glucagon-like peptide-1: Incretin actions beyond the pancreas

J Diabetes Investig. 2013 Mar 18;4(2):108-30. doi: 10.1111/jdi.12065.


Glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) are the two primary incretin hormones secreted from the intestine on ingestion of various nutrients to stimulate insulin secretion from pancreatic β-cells glucose-dependently. GIP and GLP-1 undergo degradation by dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4), and rapidly lose their biological activities. The actions of GIP and GLP-1 are mediated by their specific receptors, the GIP receptor (GIPR) and the GLP-1 receptor (GLP-1R), which are expressed in pancreatic β-cells, as well as in various tissues and organs. A series of investigations using mice lacking GIPR and/or GLP-1R, as well as mice lacking DPP-4, showed involvement of GIP and GLP-1 in divergent biological activities, some of which could have implications for preventing diabetes-related microvascular complications (e.g., retinopathy, nephropathy and neuropathy) and macrovascular complications (e.g., coronary artery disease, peripheral artery disease and cerebrovascular disease), as well as diabetes-related comorbidity (e.g., obesity, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, bone fracture and cognitive dysfunction). Furthermore, recent studies using incretin-based drugs, such as GLP-1 receptor agonists, which stably activate GLP-1R signaling, and DPP-4 inhibitors, which enhance both GLP-1R and GIPR signaling, showed that GLP-1 and GIP exert effects possibly linked to prevention or treatment of diabetes-related complications and comorbidities independently of hyperglycemia. We review recent findings on the extrapancreatic effects of GIP and GLP-1 on the heart, brain, kidney, eye and nerves, as well as in the liver, fat and several organs from the perspective of diabetes-related complications and comorbidities.

Keywords: Diabetic complication; Glucagon‐like peptide‐1; Glucose‐dependent insulinotropic polypeptide.

Publication types

  • Review