George G. Holz, Bart C. De Jonghe, Lauren E. McGrath, David J. Reiner, Tito Borner, Robert P. Doyle, Rinzin Lhamo, Kieran Koch-Laskowski, Jayme L. Workinger, Claudia G. Liberini, Christian L. Roth, Ron L. Bonaccorso, Matthew R. Hayes, Lauren M. Stein, Elizabeth G. Mietlicki-Baase
While pharmacological glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1R) agonists are FDA-approved for treating type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and obesity, a major side effect is nausea/malaise. We recently developed a conjugate of vitamin B12 bound to the GLP-1R agonist exendin-4 (Ex4), which displays enhanced proteolytic stability and retention of GLP-1R agonism. Here, we evaluate whether the conjugate (B12-Ex4) can improve glucose tolerance without producing anorexia and malaise.
Materials and Methods
We evaluated the effects of systemic B12-Ex4 and unconjugated Ex4 on food intake and body weight change, oral glucose tolerance, and nausea/malaise in male rats, and on intraperitoneal glucose tolerance in mice. To evaluate whether differences in the profile of effects of B12-Ex4 versus unconjugated Ex4 are due to altered CNS penetrance, rats received systemic injections of fluorescein-Ex4 (Flex), Cy5-B12 or Cy5-B12-Ex4 and brain penetrance was evaluated using confocal microscopy. Uptake of systemically administered Cy5-B12-Ex4 in insulin-containing pancreatic beta cells was also examined.
B12-Ex4 conjugate improves glucose tolerance, but does not elicit the malaise and anorexia produced by unconjugated Ex4. While Flex robustly penetrates into the brain (dorsal vagal complex, paraventricular hypothalamus), Cy5-B12 and Cy5-B12-Ex4 fluorescence were not observed centrally, supporting a lack of CNS penetrance in line with observed reduction in CNS-associated Ex4 side effects. Cy5-B12-Ex4 colocalizes with insulin in the pancreas, suggesting direct pancreatic action as a potential mechanism underlying the hypoglycemic effects of B12-Ex4.
These novel findings highlight the potential clinical utility of B12-Ex4 conjugates as possible future T2DM therapeutics with reduced incidence of adverse effects.