Effects of Tirzepatide, a Dual GIP and GLP-1 RA, on Lipid and Metabolite Profiles in Subjects With Type 2 Diabetes

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2022 Jan 18;107(2):363-378. doi: 10.1210/clinem/dgab722.


Context: Tirzepatide substantially reduced hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) and body weight in subjects with type 2 diabetes (T2D) compared with the glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonist dulaglutide. Improved glycemic control was associated with lower circulating triglycerides and lipoprotein markers and improved markers of beta-cell function and insulin resistance (IR), effects only partially attributable to weight loss.

Objective: Assess plasma metabolome changes mediated by tirzepatide.

Design: Phase 2b trial participants were randomly assigned to receive weekly subcutaneous tirzepatide, dulaglutide, or placebo for 26 weeks. Post hoc exploratory metabolomics and lipidomics analyses were performed.

Setting: Post hoc analysis.

Participants: 259 subjects with T2D.

Intervention(s): Tirzepatide (1, 5, 10, 15 mg), dulaglutide (1.5 mg), or placebo.

Main outcome measure(s): Changes in metabolite levels in response to tirzepatide were assessed against baseline levels, dulaglutide, and placebo using multiplicity correction.

Results: At 26 weeks, a higher dose tirzepatide modulated a cluster of metabolites and lipids associated with IR, obesity, and future T2D risk. Branched-chain amino acids, direct catabolic products glutamate, 3-hydroxyisobutyrate, branched-chain ketoacids, and indirect byproducts such as 2-hydroxybutyrate decreased compared to baseline and placebo. Changes were significantly larger with tirzepatide compared with dulaglutide and directly proportional to reductions of HbA1c, homeostatic model assessment 2-IR indices, and proinsulin levels. Proportional to metabolite changes, triglycerides and diglycerides were lowered significantly compared to baseline, dulaglutide, and placebo, with a bias toward shorter and highly saturated species.

Conclusions: Tirzepatide reduces body weight and improves glycemic control and uniquely modulates metabolites associated with T2D risk and metabolic dysregulation in a direction consistent with improved metabolic health.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT03131687.

Keywords: diabetes; glucose metabolism; insulin signaling.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial, Phase II
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gastric Inhibitory Polypeptide / administration & dosage*
  • Gastric Inhibitory Polypeptide / adverse effects
  • Gastric Inhibitory Polypeptide / metabolism
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / metabolism
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor / agonists
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor / metabolism
  • Glucagon-Like Peptides / administration & dosage
  • Glucagon-Like Peptides / adverse effects
  • Glucagon-Like Peptides / analogs & derivatives
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / analysis
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / adverse effects
  • Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments / administration & dosage
  • Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments / adverse effects
  • Injections, Subcutaneous
  • Male
  • Metabolomics
  • Middle Aged
  • Receptors, Gastrointestinal Hormone / agonists
  • Receptors, Gastrointestinal Hormone / metabolism
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / adverse effects
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Triglycerides / metabolism
  • Weight Loss / drug effects
  • Young Adult


  • Blood Glucose
  • GLP1R protein, human
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 Receptor
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Immunoglobulin Fc Fragments
  • Receptors, Gastrointestinal Hormone
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Triglycerides
  • hemoglobin A1c protein, human
  • Gastric Inhibitory Polypeptide
  • Glucagon-Like Peptides
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1
  • gastric inhibitory polypeptide receptor
  • tirzepatide
  • dulaglutide

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT03131687