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Lebherz, Corinna; Kahles, Florian; Piotrowski, Katja; Vogeser, Michael; Foldenauer, Ann Christina; Nassau, Kirsten; Kilger, Erich; Marx, Nikolaus; Parhofer, Klaus G. and Lehrke, Michael (2016): Interleukin-6 predicts inflammation-induced increase of Glucagon-like peptide-1 in humans in response to cardiac surgery with association to parameters of glucose metabolism. In: Cardiovascular Diabetology 15:21 [PDF, 843kB]


Objective: Glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) is an incretin hormone, which gets secreted in response to nutritional stimuli from the gut mediating glucose-dependent insulin secretion. Interestingly, GLP-1 was recently found to be also increased in response to inflammatory stimuli in an interleukin 6 (IL-6) dependent manner in mice. The relevance of this finding to humans is unknown but has been suggested by the presence of high circulating GLP-1 levels in critically ill patients that correlated with markers of inflammation. This study was performed to elucidate, whether a direct link exists between inflammation and GLP-1 secretion in humans. Research design and methods: We enrolled 22 non-diabetic patients scheduled for cardiac surgery as a reproducible inflammatory stimulus with repeated blood sampling before and after surgery. Results: Mean total circulating GLP-1 levels significantly increased in response to surgery from 25.5 +/- 15.6 pM to 51.9 +/- 42.7 pM which was not found in a control population. This was preceded by an early rise of IL6, which was significantly associated with GLP-1 under inflammatory but not basal conditions. Using repeated measure ANCOVA, IL6 best predicted the observed kinetics of GLP-1, followed by blood glucose concentrations and cortisol plasma levels. Furthermore, GLP-1 plasma concentrations significantly predicted endogenous insulin production as assessed by C-peptide concentrations over time, while an inverse association was found for insulin infusion rate. Conclusion: We found GLP-1 secretion to be increased in response to inflammatory stimuli in humans, which was associated to parameters of glucose metabolism and best predicted by IL6.

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