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  • journal.pone.0058784

    Rights statement: © 2012 Hunter and Hölscher; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Drugs developed to treat diabetes, liraglutide and lixisenatide, cross the blood brain barrier and enhance neurogenesis

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2012
<mark>Journal</mark>BMC Neuroscience
Volume13
Number of pages6
Pages (from-to)33-38
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Background
Type 2 diabetes is a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease (AD), most likely linked to an impairment of insulin signalling in the brain. Therefore, drugs that enhance insulin signalling may have therapeutic potential for AD. Liraglutide (Victoza) and exenatide (Byetta) are novel long-lasting analogues of the GLP-1 incretin hormone and are currently available to treat diabetes. They facilitate insulin signalling via the GLP-1 receptor (GLP-1R). Numerous in vitro and in vivo studies have shown that GLP-1 analogues have a range of neuroprotective properties. GLP-1Rs are expressed in the hippocampal area of the brain an important site of adult neurogenesis and maintenance of cognition and memory formation. Therefore, if GLP-1 analogues can cross the blood brain barrier, diffuse through the brain to reach the receptors and most importantly activate them, their neuroprotective effects may be realized.

Results
In the present study we profiled the GLP-1 receptor agonists liraglutide (Victoza) and lixisenatide (Lyxumia). We measured the kinetics of crossing the blood brain barrier (BBB), activation of the GLP-1R by measuring cAMP levels, and physiological effects in the brain on neuronal stem cell proliferation and neurogenesis. Both drugs were able to cross the BBB. Lixisenatide crossed the BBB at all doses tested (2.5, 25, or 250 nmol/kg bw ip.) when measured 30 min post-injection and at 2.5-25 nmol/kg bw ip. 3 h post-injection. Lixisenatide also enhanced neurogenesis in the brain. Liraglutide crossed the BBB at 25 and 250 nmol/kg ip. but no increase was detectable at 2.5 nmol/kg ip. 30 min post-injection, and at 250 nmol/kg ip. at 3 h post-injection. Liraglutide and lixisenatide enhanced cAMP levels in the brain, with lixisenatide being more effective.

Conclusions
Our results suggest that these novel incretin analogues cross the BBB and show physiological activity and neurogenesis in the brain, which may be of use as a treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

Bibliographic note

© 2012 Hunter and Hölscher; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.