Liraglutide improves insulin sensitivity in high fat diet induced diabetic mice through multiple pathways

Joseph Yi Zhou, Anil Poudel, Ryan Welchko, Naveen Mekala, Prashanth Chandramani-Shivalingappa, Mariana Georgeta Rosca, L. Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Glucagon like peptide-1 (GLP-1) promotes postprandial insulin secretion. Liraglutide, a full agonist of the GLP-1 receptor, reduces body weight, improve insulin sensitivity, and alleviate Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD). However, the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. This study aims to explore the underlying mechanisms and cell signaling pathways involved in the anti-obesity and anti-inflammatory effects of liraglutide. Mice were fed a high fat high sucrose diet to induce diabetes, diabetic mice were divided into two groups and injected with liraglutide or vehicle for 14 days. Liraglutide treatment improved insulin sensitivity, accompanied with reduced expression of the phosphorylated Acetyl-CoA carboxylase-2 (ACC2) and upregulation of long chain acyl CoA dehydrogenase (LCAD) in insulin sensitive tissues. Furthermore, liraglutide induced adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase-α (AMPK-α) and Sirtuin-1(Sirt-1) protein expression in liver and perigonadal fat. Liraglutide induced elevation of fatty acid oxidation in these tissues may be mediated through the AMPK-Sirt-1 cell signaling pathway. In addition, liraglutide induced brown adipocyte differentiation in skeletal muscle, including induction of uncoupling protein-1 (UCP-1) and PR-domain-containing-16 (PRDM-16) protein in association with induction of SIRT-1. Importantly, liraglutide displayed anti-inflammation effect. Specifically, liraglutide led to a significant reduction in circulating interleukin-1 β (IL-1 β) and interleukin-6 (IL-6) as well as hepatic IL-1 β and IL-6 content. The expression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS-1) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) in insulin sensitive tissues was also reduced following liraglutide treatment. In conclusion, liraglutide improves insulin sensitivity through multiple pathways resulting in reduction of inflammation, elevation of fatty acid oxidation, and induction of adaptive thermogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number172594
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
StatePublished - Oct 15 2019


  • Adipocyte
  • Insulin resistance
  • Liraglutide
  • Metabolism
  • Obesity


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