A novel GLP-1/GIP dual receptor agonist protects from 6-OHDA lesion in a rat model of Parkinson's disease

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The incretins glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) and glucose dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) are growth factors that have shown neuroprotective effects in animal models of Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease. In addition, the GLP-1 mimetic exendin-4 has shown protective effects in a clinical trial in Parkinson's disease (PD) patients. GLP-1 analogues are currently on the market as treatments for type II diabetes. We previously showed that the novel dual agonist (DA-JC1) was effective in the 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) mouse model of PD. Here we demonstrate that DA-JC1 is neuroprotective in the 6-OHDA brain lesion rat model of PD. When treating rats for 6 weeks with DA-JC1 at 25 nmol/kg ip once-daily, motor activity as tested in the Rotarod and in the open field was much improved. In the amphetamine and apomorphine circling behaviour tests, the 6-OHDA induced impairments were much reduced by the DA-JC1 treatment. The number of TH positive dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra was decreased by 6-OHDA lesion and was increased by DA-JC1 treatment. Dopamine levels in the basal ganglia were reduced by 6-OHDA lesion and increased by DA-JC1. In western blot analysis, levels of the growth factor GDNF and pAkt/CREB cell signaling was enhanced by DA-JC1. The autophagy marker Beclin1 was also activated by the drug. The results demonstrate that dual GLP-1/GIP receptor agonists show promise as a novel treatment for PD.

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