Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor expression on human eosinophils and its regulation of eosinophil activation

Clin Exp Allergy. 2017 Mar;47(3):331-338. doi: 10.1111/cea.12860. Epub 2017 Jan 28.


Background: Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and its receptor are part of the incretin family of hormones that regulate glucose metabolism. GLP-1 also has immune modulatory roles.

Objectives: To measure the expression of the GLP-1 receptor (GLP-1R) on eosinophils and neutrophils in normal and asthmatic subjects and evaluate effects of a GLP-1 analog on eosinophil function.

Methods: Peripheral blood samples were taken from 10 normal and 10 allergic asthmatic subjects. GLP-1R expression was measured on eosinophils and neutrophils. Subsequently, the asthmatic subjects underwent allergen and diluent inhalation challenges, and GLP-1R expression was measured. Purified eosinophils, collected from mild asthmatic subjects, were stimulated with lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and a GLP-1 analog to evaluate eosinophil cell activation markers CD11b and CD69 and cytokine (IL-4, IL-5, IL-8 and IL-13) production.

Results: Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor is expressed on human eosinophils and neutrophils. Eosinophil, but not neutrophil, expression of GLP-1R is significantly higher in normal controls compared to allergic asthmatics. The expression of GLP-1R did not change on either eosinophils or neutrophils following allergen challenge. A GLP-1 analog significantly decreased the expression of eosinophil-surface activation markers following LPS stimulation and decreased eosinophil production of IL-4, IL-8 and IL-13, but not IL-5.

Conclusion and clinical relevance: Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor is expressed on human eosinophils and neutrophils. A GLP-1 analog attenuates LPS-stimulated eosinophil activation. GLP-1 agonists may have additional adjunctive indications in treating persons with concomitant type 2 diabetes mellitus and asthma.

Keywords: asthma; basic mechanisms; pharmacology and inhaled allergens.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Allergens / administration & dosage
  • Allergens / immunology
  • Asthma / diagnosis
  • Asthma / genetics
  • Asthma / immunology
  • Asthma / metabolism
  • Bronchial Provocation Tests
  • Eosinophils / immunology*
  • Eosinophils / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Gene Expression*
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Immunomodulation / genetics*
  • Male
  • Methacholine Chloride / administration & dosage
  • Middle Aged
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Young Adult


  • Allergens
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor
  • Methacholine Chloride