Glucagon-like peptide-1 decreases endogenous amyloid-beta peptide (Abeta) levels and protects hippocampal neurons from death induced by Abeta and iron.

Perry, TracyAnn; Lahiri, Debomoy K; Sambamurti, Kumar; Chen, Demao; Mattson, Mark P; Egan, Josephine M; Greig, Nigel H
Journal of neuroscience research; 2003 Jun 1;72(5):603-12. PMID: 12749025
Section of Drug Design and Development, Laboratory of Neuroscience, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, Baltimore, Maryland 21224, USA.


Glucagon-like peptide-1(7-36)-amide (GLP-1) is an endogenous insulinotropic peptide that is secreted from the gastrointestinal tract in response to food. It enhances pancreatic islet beta-cell proliferation and glucose-dependent insulin secretion and lowers blood glucose and food intake in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. GLP-1 receptors, which are coupled to the cyclic AMP second messenger pathway, are expressed throughout the brains of rodents and humans. It was recently reported that GLP-1 and exendin-4, a naturally occurring, more stable analogue of GLP-1 that binds at the GLP-1 receptor, possess neurotrophic properties and can protect neurons against glutamate-induced apoptosis. We report here that GLP-1 can reduce the levels of amyloid-beta peptide (Abeta) in the brain in vivo and can reduce levels of amyloid precursor protein (APP) in cultured neuronal cells. Moreover, GLP-1 and exendin-4 protect cultured hippocampal neurons against death induced by Abeta and iron, an oxidative insult. Collectively, these data suggest that GLP-1 can modify APP processing and protect against oxidative injury, two actions that suggest a novel therapeutic target for intervention in Alzheimer's disease.