Liraglutide treatment attenuates inflammation markers in the cardiac, cerebral and renal microvasculature in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats

Umit Baylan, Amber Korn, Reindert W. Emmens, Casper G. Schalkwijk, Hans W. M. Niessen, Paul A. J. Krijnen, Suat Simsek

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Background: Diabetes mellitus (DM) induces cardiac and cerebral microvascular dysfunction via increased glycation, oxidative stress and endothelial activation. Liraglutide, a glucagon-like peptide-1 analogue, inhibited NOX2 and adhesion molecules in isolated endothelial cells. Here, we have studied how Liraglutide affects advanced glycation, NOX expression and inflammation of the cardiac, cerebral and renal microvasculature in diabetic rats. Methods: DM was induced in Sprague–Dawley rats (n = 15) via intraperitoneal streptozotocin (STZ) injection (60 mg/kg bodyweight). Ten control rats remained nondiabetic. From day 9 post-STZ injection, Liraglutide (200 μg/kg bodyweight; n = 7) or vehicle (n = 8) was injected subcutaneously daily until termination on day 29. The advanced glycation endproduct N-ε-(carboxymethyl)lysine (CML), NOX2, NOX4, ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 were subsequently immunohistochemically analysed and quantified to compare Liraglutide treatment with placebo. Results: In the heart, Liraglutide treatment significantly reduced the DM-increased scores/cm2 for CML in both ventricles (from 253 ± 53 to 72 ± 12; p =.003) and atria (343 ± 29 to 122 ± 8; p =.0001) and for NOX2, ICAM-1 and VCAM-1, but not for NOX4. Also in the cerebrum and cerebellum of the brain, Liraglutide significantly reduced the scores/cm2 for CML (to 60 ± 7 (p =.0005) and 47 ± 13 (p =.02), respectively), and for NOX2 and NOX4. In the kidney, the DM-induced expression of ICAM-1 and VCAM-1 was decreased in the blood vessels and glomeruli by Liraglutide treatment. Liraglutide did not affect blood glucose levels or bodyweight. Conclusions: Our study implies that Liraglutide protects the cardiac, cerebral and renal microvasculature against diabetes-induced dysfunction, independent of lowering blood glucose in a type 1 diabetes rat model.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13807
JournalEuropean journal of clinical investigation
Issue number9
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022


  • CML
  • GLP-1 analogue
  • ICAM-1 (CD54)
  • Liraglutide
  • NADPH oxidases
  • VCAM-1 (CD106)
  • advanced glycation endproducts
  • cerebral vasculature
  • diabetes mellitus
  • intramyocardial vasculature
  • renal vasculature

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