Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 (GLP-1) Reduces Mortality and Improves Lung Function in a Model of Experimental Obstructive Lung Disease in Female Mice

The incretin hormone glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) is an important insulin secretagogue and GLP-1 analogs are used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. GLP-1 displays antiinflammatory and surfactant-releasing effects. Thus, we hypothesize that treatment with GLP-1 analogs will improve pulmonary function in a mouse model of obstructive lung disease. Female mice were sensitized with injected ovalbumin and treated with GLP-1 receptor (GLP-1R) agonists. Exacerbation was induced with inhalations of ovalbumin and lipopolysaccharide. Lung function was evaluated with a measurement of enhanced pause in a whole-body plethysmograph. mRNA levels of GLP-1R, surfactants (SFTPs), and a number of inflammatory markers were measured. GLP-1R was highly expressed in lung tissue. Mice treated with GLP-1R agonists had a noticeably better clinical appearance than the control group. Enhanced pause increased dramatically at day 17 in all control mice, but the increase was significantly less in the groups of GLP-1R agonist-treated mice (P < .001). Survival proportions were significantly increased in GLP-1R agonist-treated mice (P < .01). SFTPB and SFTPA were down-regulated and the expression of inflammatory cytokines were increased in mice with obstructive lung disease, but levels were largely unaffected by GLP-1R agonist treatment. These results show that GLP-1R agonists have potential therapeutic potential in the treatment of obstructive pulmonary diseases, such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, by decreasing the severity of acute exacerbations. The mechanism of action does not seem to be the modulation of inflammation and SFTP expression.