Aim: To develop a conjugate of vitamin B12 bound to the glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1R) agonist exendin-4 (Ex4) that shows reduced penetrance into the central nervous system while maintaining peripheral glucoregulatory function. Methods: We evaluated whether a vitamin B12 conjugate of Ex4 (B12-Ex4) improves glucose tolerance without inducing anorexia in Goto-Kakizaki (GK) rats, a lean type 2 diabetes model of an understudied but medically compromised population of patients requiring the glucoregulatory effects of GLP-1R agonists without anorexia. We also utilized the musk shrew (Suncus murinus), a mammalian model capable of emesis, to test B12-Ex4 on glycaemic profile, feeding and emesis. Results: In both models, native Ex4 and B12-Ex4 equivalently blunted the rise in blood glucose levels during a glucose tolerance test. In both GK rats and shrews, acute Ex4 administration decreased food intake, leading to weight loss; by contrast, equimolar administration of B12-Ex4 had no effect on feeding and body weight. There was a near absence of emesis in shrews given systemic B12-Ex4, in contrast to reliable emesis produced by Ex4. When administered centrally, both B12-Ex4 and Ex4 induced similar potency of emesis, suggesting that brain penetrance of B12-Ex4 is required for induction of emesis. Conclusions: These findings highlight the potential therapeutic value of B12-Ex4 as a novel treatment for type 2 diabetes devoid of weight loss and with reduced adverse effects and better tolerance, but similar glucoregulation to current GLP-1R agonists.
- animal pharmacology
- antidiabetic drug
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Internal Medicine
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism