Background: Lixisenatide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 analog which stimulates insulin secretion and inhibits glucagon secretion and gastric emptying. We investigated cardioprotective effects of lixisenatide in rodent models reflecting the clinical situation.Methods: The acute cardiac effects of lixisenatide were investigated in isolated rat hearts subjected to brief ischemia and reperfusion. Effects of chronic treatment with lixisenatide on cardiac function were assessed in a modified rat heart failure model after only transient coronary occlusion followed by long-term reperfusion. Freshly isolated cardiomyocytes were used to investigate cell-type specific mechanisms of lixisenatide action.Results: In the acute setting of ischemia-reperfusion, lixisenatide reduced the infarct-size/area at risk by 36% ratio without changes on coronary flow, left-ventricular pressure and heart rate. Treatment with lixisenatide for 10 weeks, starting after cardiac ischemia and reperfusion, improved left ventricular end-diastolic pressure and relaxation time and prevented lung congestion in comparison to placebo. No anti-fibrotic effect was observed. Gene expression analysis revealed a change in remodeling genes comparable to the ACE inhibitor ramipril. In isolated cardiomyocytes lixisenatide reduced apoptosis and increased fractional shortening. Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor (GLP1R) mRNA expression could not be detected in rat heart samples or isolated cardiomyocytes. Surprisingly, cardiomyocytes isolated from GLP-1 receptor knockout mice still responded to lixisenatide.Conclusions: In rodent models, lixisenatide reduced in an acute setting infarct-size and improved cardiac function when administered long-term after ischemia-reperfusion injury. GLP-1 receptor independent mechanisms contribute to the described cardioprotective effect of lixisenatide. Based in part on these preclinical findings patients with cardiac dysfunction are currently being recruited for a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicenter study with lixisenatide.Trial registration: (ELIXA, ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT01147250).
- Cardiac dysfunction
- GLP1-receptor agonist
- Macrovascular risk
- Myocardial ischemia-reperfusion
- Pre-clinical models