1.Glucagon-like peptide-1 (7-36) amide (GLP-1) is released into the circulation after meals and is the most potent physiological insulinotropic hormone in man. GLP-1 has the advantages over other therapeutic agents for Type 2 diabetes of also suppressing glucagon secretion and delaying gastric emptying. One of the initial abnormalities of Type 2 diabetes is the loss of the first-phase insulin response, leading to postprandial hyperglycaemia.

2.To investigate the therapeutic potential of GLP-1 in Type 2 diabetes, six patients were entered into a 6-week, double-blind crossover trial during which each received 3 weeks treatment with subcutaneous GLP-1 or saline, self-administered three times a day immediately before meals. A standard test meal was given at the beginning and end of each treatment period.

3.GLP-1 reduced plasma glucose area under the curve (AUC) after the standard test meal by 58% (AUC, 0–240 ;min: GLP-1 start of treatment, 196±141 ;mmol·min-1·l-1; saline start of treatment, 469±124 ;mmol·min-1·l-1; F = 16.4, P< 0.05). The plasma insulin excursions were significantly higher with GLP-1 compared with saline over the initial postprandial 30 ;min, the time period during which the GLP-1 concentration was considerably elevated. The plasma glucagon levels were significantly lower over the 240-min postprandial period with GLP-1 treatment. The beneficial effects of GLP-1 on plasma glucose, insulin and glucagon concentrations were fully maintained for the 3-week treatment period.

4.We have demonstrated a significant improvement in postprandial glycaemic control with subcutaneous GLP-1 treatment. GLP-1 improves glycaemic control partially by restoring the first-phase insulin response and suppressing glucagon and is a potential treatment for Type 2 diabetes.

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