Dipeptidyl peptidase IV inhibitors and the incretin system in type 2 diabetes mellitus

Alissa K Langley, Terri J Suffoletta, Heath R Jennings
Pharmacotherapy 2007, 27 (8): 1163-80
As understanding of type 2 diabetes mellitus pathophysiology expands, treatments continue to evolve and new pharmacologic targets emerge. Patients with type 2 diabetes exhibit deficiencies of the incretin system; thus, methods for increasing insulinotropic hormones have become a popular target for therapy. A new class of oral antidiabetics has emerged-the dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPP-IV) inhibitors. Unlike conventional oral antidiabetic agents, these agents promote glucose homeostasis through inhibition of DPP-IV, the enzyme responsible for degradation of two key glucoregulatory hormones: glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), which extends the action of insulin while also suppressing the release of glucagon, and glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide (GIP). Other proposed mechanisms of action of GLP-1 and thus DPP-IV inhibitors include satiety, increased beta-cell production, and inhibition of apoptosis of beta cells. Clinical studies have evaluated the potential for DPP-IV inhibition to reduce glucagon levels, delay gastric emptying, and stimulate insulin release. The DPP-IV inhibitors appear to have excellent therapeutic potential in the management of type 2 diabetes as monotherapy or in combination with existing agents, such as metformin. Their pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profiles support once-daily dosing, with sustainable reductions in glycosylated hemoglobin levels and relatively few adverse effects. Their distinctive mechanism of action and adverse-event profiles may offer advantages over existing therapies, including low risk for hypoglycemia and possible augmentation of pancreatic beta-cell regeneration.

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