The effect of glucagon-like peptide-1 in the management of diabetes mellitus: cellular and molecular mechanisms

Mohamed Lotfy, Jaipaul Singh, Hameed Rashed, Saeed Tariq, Erika Zilahi, Ernest Adeghate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Incretins, such as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP)-1, have been shown to elevate plasma insulin concentration. The purpose of this study is to investigate the cellular and molecular basis of the beneficial effects of GLP-1. Normal and diabetic male Wistar rats were treated with GLP-1 (50 ng/kg body weight) for 10 weeks. At the end of the experiment, pancreatic tissues were taken for immunohistochemistry, immunoelectron microscopy and real-time polymerase chain reaction studies. Samples of blood were retrieved from the animals for the measurement of enzymes and insulin. The results show that treatment of diabetic rats with GLP-1 caused significant (P < 0.05) reduction in body weight gain and blood glucose level. GLP-1 (10−12–10−6 M) induced significant (P < 0.01) dose-dependent increases in insulin release from the pancreas of normal and diabetic rats compared to basal. Diabetes-induced abnormal liver (aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase) and kidney (blood urea nitrogen and uric acid) parameters were corrected in GLP-1-treated rats compared to controls. GLP-1 treatment induced significant (P < 0.05) elevation in the expression of pancreatic duodenal homeobox-1, heat shock protein-70, glutathione peroxidase, insulin receptor and GLP-1-receptor genes in diabetic animals compared to controls. GLP-1 is present in pancreatic beta cells and significantly (P < 0.05) increased the number of insulin-, glutathione reductase- and catalase-immunoreactive islet cells. The results of this study show that GLP-1 is co-localized with insulin and seems to exert its beneficial effects by increasing cellular concentrations of endogenous antioxidant genes and other genes involved in the maintenance of pancreatic beta cell structure and function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-358
Number of pages16
JournalCell and Tissue Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2014


  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Exenatide
  • GLP-1
  • Gene expression
  • Glucagon
  • Glucose
  • Insulin
  • Rats
  • Streptozotocin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology
  • Cell Biology


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