Published November 28, 2011
University at Buffalo researchers have shown that a drug used to control blood sugar has a strong anti-inflammatory effect and therefore may inhibit atherosclerosis, the major cause of heart attacks, strokes and gangrene in people with Type 2 diabetes.
The finding is especially noteworthy because exenatide—marketed under the trade name Byetta—had this effect regardless of weight loss, which is known to reduce inflammation.
“A short-lived anti-inflammatory effect was observed within two hours following a single injection of 5 micrograms of the drug,” explains Ajay Chaudhuri, MD, associate professor of medicine and the study’s lead author.
“This coincides with the peak concentration of the drug after the injection. Such a rapid and dramatic effect is rare.”
Researchers next plan to study how exenatide might be used in intensive care units to quickly reduce inflammation following heart attack or stroke.
“Apart from corticosteroids, which are known anti-inflammatory drugs, and insulin, no other drug demonstrates such a powerful and rapid anti-inflammatory effect,” notes senior author Paresh Dandona, MD, UB Distinguished Professor in the Department of Medicine.
The exenatide study involved 24 obese patients with Type 2 diabetes who were already on insulin to control their glucose levels.
In addition to reduced inflammation, participants’ A1C hemoglobin levels—a measurement of average blood sugar levels over three months—dropped from 8.6 percent to 7.4 percent.
The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism in an article titled Exenatide Exerts a Potent Antiinflammatory Effect.