Context: Although dipeptidyl-peptidase-4 inhibitors exert their major action via an incretin mechanism, a favorable effect of vildagliptin on lipid metabolism remains unexplained.
Objective: The objective was to examine hepatic triglyceride levels and insulin sensitivity on vildagliptin.
Design: This was a 6-month, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
Setting: This was an outpatient study at a university clinical research center.
Patients: Individuals with type 2 diabetes (n = 44) and glycated hemoglobin ≤ 7.6% on stable metformin therapy were included.
Intervention: Intervention was vildagliptin 50 mg twice a day or placebo over 6 months.
Main outcome measures: Main outcome measures were hepatic triglyceride levels and insulin sensitivity.
Results: Mean fasting liver triglyceride content decreased by 27% with vildagliptin, from 7.3 ± 1.0% (baseline) to 5.3 ± 0.9% (endpoint). There was no change in the placebo group. The between-group difference in change from baseline was significant (P = .013). Mean fasting plasma glucose concentration decreased over the study period with vildagliptin vs placebo by -1.0 mmol/L (P = .018), and there was a positive correlation between these decrements and liver triglyceride in the vildagliptin group at 3 months (r = 0.47; P = .02) and 6 months (r = 0.44; P = .03). Plasma alanine aminotransferase fell from 27.2 ± 2.8 to 20.3 ± 1.4 IU/L in the vildagliptin group (P = .0007), and there was a correlation between the decrements in alanine aminotransferase and liver triglyceride (r = 0.83; P < .0001). Insulin sensitivity during the euglycemic clamp was similar in each group at baseline (3.24 ± 0.30 vs 3.19 ± 0.38 mg/kg/min) and did not change (adjusted mean change of 0.26 ± 0.22 vs 0.32 ± 0.22 mg/kg/min; P = .86). Mean body weight decreased by 1.6 ± 0.5 vs 0.4 ± 0.5 kg in the vildagliptin and placebo groups, respectively (P = .08).
Conclusions: This study demonstrates that the dipeptidyl-peptidase-4 inhibitor vildagliptin brings about a clinically significant decrease in hepatic triglyceride levels during 6 months of therapy unrelated to change in body weight. There was no change in peripheral insulin sensitivity.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01356381.