Purpose: We previously demonstrated the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects of exenatide. We now hypothesized that exenatide also increases the plasma concentration of interleukin-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1RA), an endogenous anti-inflammatory protein, and modulates the nuclear factor erythroid 2‒related factor‒Kelchlike ECH-associated protein 1‒antioxidant response element (Nrf-2‒Keap-1‒ARE) system to induce key antioxidant enzymes to suppress inflammatory and oxidative stress.
Methods: Twenty-four patients with obesity and type 2 diabetes receiving combined oral and insulin therapy were randomly assigned to receive either exenatide 10 μg or placebo twice a day for 12 weeks.
Results: Exenatide increased IL-1RA concentration by 61% (from 318 ± 53 to 456 ± 88 pg/mL; P < 0.05). Exenatide treatment also suppressed Keap-1 protein (P < 0.05) and increased messenger RNA expression of NQO-1, glutathione S-transferase PI, heme oxygenase-1, and p21 and increased NAD(P)H dehydrogenase [quinone] 1 protein (P < 0.05) in mononuclear cells.
Conclusions: Because IL-1RA protects, maintains, and stimulates β-cell function in humans and Nrf-2‒Keap-1‒ARE protects β cells in animals with experimental diabetes, these actions of exenatide may contribute to a potential protective effect on β cells in diabetes.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01154933.