GLP-1 and IGF-I levels are elevated in late infancy in low birth weight infants, independently of GLP-1 receptor polymorphisms and neonatal nutrition

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Low birth weight followed by rapid postnatal weight gain is associated with increased risks for obesity and diabetes in adulthood. Modulation of glucagon-like-peptide 1 (GLP-1) secretion by (epi)genetic mechanisms or nutrition may, in part, influence this risk. Formula-fed infants born small-for-gestational-age (SGA) have higher circulating GLP-1 at age 4 months than breastfed SGA or appropriate-for-gestational-age (AGA) infants. Here we assessed GLP-1 concentrations in healthy AGA (n = 149) and SGA (n = 107) subjects at age 12 months and their association with endocrine-metabolic and body composition parameters and GLP-1 receptor (GLP-1R) rs6923761 and rs3765467 polymorphisms. At birth, cord GLP-1 concentrations were comparable in AGA and SGA infants. At age 12 months, insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) and GLP-1 levels were higher than at birth; SGA infants displayed higher IGF-I and GLP-1 concentrations than AGA infants (both P<0.001) that were unrelated to neonatal nutrition or GLP-1R genotype and that were paralleled by a significant increase in weight Z-score (P<0.001 vs AGA). In conclusion, SGA infants have augmented IGF-I and prefeeding GLP-1 concentrations in late infancy. Increased GLP-1 levels may impair hypothalamic and/or peripheral GLP-1R signaling, exert long-term negative effects on the hypothalamic nuclei regulating energy homeostasis and increase the risks for obesity and diabetes.

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