Endogenous GLP-1 mediates postprandial reductions in activation in central reward and satiety areas in patients with type 2 diabetes

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

  • Jennifer S Ten Kulve
  • Dick J Veltman
  • Liselotte van Bloemendaal
  • Frederik Barkhof
  • Deacon, Carolyn F.
  • Holst, Jens Juul
  • Robert J Konrad
  • John H Sloan
  • Madeleine L Drent
  • Michaela Diamant
  • Richard G IJzerman

The central nervous system (CNS) is a major player in the regulation of food intake. The gut hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) has been proposed to have an important role in this regulation by relaying information about nutritional status to the CNS. We hypothesised that endogenous GLP-1 has effects on CNS reward and satiety circuits.


This was a randomised, crossover, placebo-controlled intervention study, performed in a university medical centre in the Netherlands. We included patients with type 2 diabetes and healthy lean control subjects. Individuals were eligible if they were 40–65 years. Inclusion criteria for the healthy lean individuals included a BMI <25 kg/m2 and normoglycaemia. Inclusion criteria for the patients with type 2 diabetes included BMI >26 kg/m2, HbA1c levels between 42 and 69 mmol/mol (6.0–8.5%) and treatment for diabetes with only oral glucose-lowering agents. We assessed CNS activation, defined as blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) signal, in response to food pictures in obese patients with type 2 diabetes (n = 20) and healthy lean individuals (n = 20) using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). fMRI was performed in the fasted state and after meal intake on two occasions, once during infusion of the GLP-1 receptor antagonist exendin 9-39, which was administered to block actions of endogenous GLP-1, and on the other occasion during saline (placebo) infusion. Participants were blinded for the type of infusion. The order of infusion was determined by block randomisation. The primary outcome was the difference in BOLD signal, i.e. in CNS activation, in predefined regions in the CNS in response to viewing food pictures.


All patients were included in the analyses. Patients with type 2 diabetes showed increased CNS activation in CNS areas involved in the regulation of feeding (insula, amygdala and orbitofrontal cortex) in response to food pictures compared with lean individuals (p ≤ 0.04). Meal intake reduced activation in the insula in response to food pictures in both groups (p ≤ 0.05), but this was more pronounced in patients with type 2 diabetes. Blocking actions of endogenous GLP-1 significantly prevented meal-induced reductions in bilateral insula activation in response to food pictures in patients with type 2 diabetes (p ≤ 0.03).


Our findings support the hypothesis that endogenous GLP-1 is involved in postprandial satiating effects in the CNS of obese patients with type 2 diabetes.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)2688-98
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2015

ID: 150707941