Many patients with type 2 diabetes fail to achieve adequate glycaemic control with available treatments, even when used in combination, and eventually develop microvascular and macrovascular diabetic complications. Even intensive interventions to control glycaemia reduce macrovascular complications only minimally. There is, therefore, a need for new agents that more effectively treat the disease, as well as target its prevention, its progression, and its associated complications. One emerging area of interest is centred upon the actions of the incretin hormones glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP), which enhance meal-induced insulin secretion and have trophic effects on the beta-cell. GLP-1 also inhibits glucagon secretion, and suppresses food intake and appetite. Two new classes of agents have recently gained regulatory approval for therapy of type 2 diabetes; long-acting stable analogues of GLP-1, the so-called incretin mimetics, and inhibitors of dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP-4, the enzyme responsible for the rapid degradation of the incretin hormones), the so-called incretin enhancers. This article focuses on DPP-4 inhibitors.
Keywords: Animals; Antigens, CD26; Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2; Disease Models, Animal; Enzyme Inhibitors; Gastric Inhibitory Polypeptide; Glucose; Humans; Hypoglycemic Agents; Incretins; Insulin; Insulin Resistance; Islets of Langerhans; Mice; Rats