Hormone combination could lead to treatment for type 2 diabetes

by Barbara Hewitt on March 22, 2013

Hormone combination could lead to treatment for type 2 diabetes

Hormone combination could lead to treatment for type 2 diabetes

A new treatment combining two hormones shows promise as the basis for combating obesity and type 2 diabetes as it reduces appetite, scientists have found. Volunteers treated with the hormones glucagon and GLP-1 consumed significantly less food, an internationally renowned team at Imperial College in London found. They told the annual Society for Endocrinology conference in Harrogate that this combination may form the basis for a new treatment for obesity and diabetes in the future.

Previous results from animal studies showed that these two hormones, which play key roles in regulating blood sugar, might be an effective lead to combat obesity and diabetes. Glucagon works in opposition to insulin, preventing the storage of glucose in fat deposits and the liver and raising blood sugar levels while GLP-1 stimulates the release of insulin to lower blood sugar and also acts at the brain to reduce appetite.

The research team, led by Professor Stephen Bloom, set out to identify whether glucagon and GLP-1 given in combination might work together to reduce appetite. In this small study, 16 volunteers were randomly allocated to a sequence of four treatment infusions for 120 minutes, separated by at least three days; glucagon; GLP-1, 3; glucagon and GLP-1 in combination; and a saline infusion as a control.

Quote from DiabetesForum.com : “I don’t know how chips could be cheap or filling. But anyways….we are, again, all different. Poor Kid! I hope that she succeeds in her battles with losing weight and Diabetes.”

The team provided the subjects with a meal at 90 minutes into each infusion, measured the amount of oxygen consumed then took blood samples to measure blood sugar and metabolic hormone levels. They also took readings for pulse, blood pressure and nausea, all both at baseline and during the infusions. The data shows that the promising findings using a glucagon/GLP-1 combination in mice can be replicated in humans. Appetite was significantly reduced during the combination treatment compared to the glucagon, GLP-1 alone or saline infusions. The team will now go on to test this glucagon/GLP-1 combination treatment in more people and for longer periods of time to see if the effects can be sustained in the long term.

‘The hormones glucagon and GLP-1 are both used by the body to control blood sugar and metabolism, so there is great interest in utilising them to find new treatments for obesity and type 2 diabetes,’ said Professor Stephen Bloom, head of Diabetes, Endocrinology and Metabolism at Imperial College London. ‘We found that volunteers treated with a glucagon/GLP-1 combination consumed significantly less food. This data replicates our findings in animals, suggesting that a glucagon/GLP-1 combination may be a promising lead from which to develop a new treatment for obesity and diabetes,’ he explained.

‘A 13% reduction in food intake is large by anyone’s standards, but our experiment is only an appetiser. An effective future treatment will need to suppress appetite in the long term, so we next aim to establish whether the effects can be sustained to lead to real weight loss,’ he added.


The opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the DiabetesForum.com Community and should not be interpreted as medical advice. Please see your doctor before making any changes to your diabetes management plan.

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