Glucagon-like peptide-1, glucagon-like peptide-2, and lipid metabolism

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Purpose of review

Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) is the best known incretin hormone able to potentiate glucose-induced insulin secretion. Moreover, GLP-1 is currently under intensive investigation as a potential crucial mediator of beneficial metabolic effects after bariatric surgery, because of its eating inhibitory, antiobesity, and antidiabetes effects. This review briefly summarizes recent findings on the specific effects of GLP-1 on lipoprotein metabolism. The related hormone GLP-2 is derived from the same precursor gene; its effects on lipoprotein metabolism will also be discussed briefly.

Recent findings

Pharmacological activation of the GLP-1 system has beneficial effects on obesity-induced alterations of lipoprotein metabolism. These benefits can be observed with direct GLP-1 receptor agonists like liraglutide or exendin-4, but also with inhibitors of dipeptidyl peptidase IV (DPP-IV), which reduce the breakdown of endogenous GLP-1. The role of GLP-2-related pathways on lipid levels and metabolism are less clear, but some effects (e.g. increased intestinal chylomicron output) are opposite to GLP-1.


Activation of the GLP-1-dependent pathways may perhaps translate into a lower cardiovascular risk. Understanding how GLP-1 and GLP-2 regulate and interact in the control of lipoprotein metabolism will set the stage for the development of new strategies to treat dyslipidaemia in obesity, diabetes, and other cardiometabolic diseases.

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