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09-04-2017 | Nephropathy | Review | Article

GLP-1 and the kidney: from physiology to pharmacology and outcomes in diabetes

Authors:
Marcel H. A. Muskiet, Lennart Tonneijck, Mark M. Smits, Michaël J.B. van Baar, Mark H. H. Kramer, Ewout J. Hoorn, Jaap A. Joles, Danië H. van Raalte

Abstract

The gastrointestinal tract — the largest endocrine network in human physiology — orchestrates signals from the external environment to maintain neural and hormonal control of homeostasis. Advances in understanding entero-endocrine cell biology in health and disease have important translational relevance. The gut-derived incretin hormone glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) is secreted upon meal ingestion and controls glucose metabolism by modulating pancreatic islet cell function, food intake and gastrointestinal motility, amongst other effects. The observation that the insulinotropic actions of GLP-1 are reduced in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) led to the development of incretin-based therapies — GLP-1 receptor agonists and dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP-4) inhibitors — for the treatment of hyperglycaemia in these patients. Considerable interest exists in identifying effects of these drugs beyond glucose-lowering, possibly resulting in improved macrovascular and microvascular outcomes, including in diabetic kidney disease. As GLP-1 has been implicated as a mediator in the putative gut–renal axis (a rapid-acting feed-forward loop that regulates postprandial fluid and electrolyte homeostasis), direct actions on the kidney have been proposed. Here, we review the role of GLP-1 and the actions of associated therapies on glucose metabolism, the gut–renal axis, classical renal risk factors, and renal end points in randomized controlled trials of GLP-1 receptor agonists and DPP-4 inhibitors in patients with T2DM.

 

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