CLEVELAND, March 26 (UPI) -- The diabetes drug, sitagliptin, might be effective in keeping prediabetes from progressing to diabetes, U.S. researchers say.
Paul Ernsberger and Dr. Richard J. Koletsky of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland say sitagliptin works by boosting the levels of an intestinal factor known as GLP-1, which increases insulin output while also decreasing glucagon output. Type 2 diabetes is caused by insufficient levels of insulin to keep blood glucose under control, but excessive levels of another hormone -- glucagon -- can also contribute to type 2 diabetes causing the liver to flood the body with stored glucose.
Prediabetic rats were divided into three groups and treated with either a placebo, sitagliptin or another, older diabetes medication, glyburide, which acts by boosting the production of insulin by the pancreas. Sitagliptin and glyburide were equally effective in lowering glucose levels after a meal but only sitagliptin lowered glucagon to normal levels.
Neither of the drugs had any effect on body weight, total body fat or food intake, but compared to the older drug glyburide, sitagliptin caused a redistribution of body fat from the abdominal fat deposits to deposits under the skin, the study says.
Lowering the proportion of fat stored within the abdomen has favorable effects in diabetes and for cardiovascular risk factors, the researchers say.
The findings are published in the journal Experimental Biology and Medicine.