Recombinant glucagon-like peptide-1 (7–36)amide (rGLP-1) was recently shown to cause significant weight loss in type 2 diabetics when administered for 6 weeks as a continuous subcutaneous infusion. The mechanisms responsible for the weight loss are not clarified. In the present study, rGLP-1 was given for 5d by prandial subcutaneous injections (PSI) (76nmol 30min before meals, four times daily; a total of 302·4nmol/24h) or by continuous subcutaneous infusion (CSI) (12·7nmol/h; a total of 304·8nmol/24h). This was performed in nineteen healthy obese subjects (mean age 44·2 (sem 2·5) years; BMI 39·0 (sem 1·2)kg/m2) in a prospective randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over study. Compared with the placebo, rGLP-1 administered as PSI and by CSI generated a 15% reduction in mean food intake per meal (P=0·02) after 5d treatment. A weight loss of 0·55 (sem 0·2) kg (P<0·05) was registered after 5d with PSI of rGLP-1. Gastric emptying rate was reduced during both PSI (P<0·001) and CSI (P<0·05) treatment, but more rapidly and to a greater extent with PSI of rGLP-1. To conclude, a 5d treatment of rGLP-1 at high doses by PSI, but not CSI, promptly slowed gastric emptying as a probable mechanism of action of increased satiety, decreased hunger and, hence, reduced food intake with an ensuing weight loss.
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