Interaction of GLP-1 and Ghrelin on Glucose Tolerance in Healthy Humans
Emerging evidence supports the importance of ghrelin to defend against starvation-induced hypoglycemia. This effect may be mediated by inhibition of glucose-stimulated insulin secretion as well as reduced insulin sensitivity. However, administration of ghrelin during meal consumption also stimulates the release of glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), an incretin important in nutrient disposition. The objective of this study was to evaluate the interaction between ghrelin and GLP-1 on parameters of glucose tolerance following a mixed-nutrient meal. Fifteen healthy men and women completed the study. Each consumed a standard meal on four separate occasions with a superimposed infusion of 1 ) saline, 2 ) ghrelin, 3 ) the GLP-1 receptor antagonist exendin(9-39) (Ex9), or 4 ) combined ghrelin and Ex9. Similar to previous studies, infusion of ghrelin caused glucose intolerance, whereas Ex9 had a minimal effect. However, combined ghrelin and Ex9 resulted in greater postprandial glycemia than either alone, and this effect was associated with impaired β-cell function and decreased glucose clearance. These findings suggest that in the fed state, stimulation of GLP-1 mitigates some of the effect of ghrelin on glucose tolerance. This novel interaction between gastrointestinal hormones suggests a system that balances insulin secretion and glucose disposal in the fed and fasting states.