Inhibition of Monocyte Adhesion to Endothelial Cells and Attenuation of Atherosclerotic Lesion by a Glucagon-like Peptide-1 Receptor Agonist, Exendin-4

  1. Hirotaka Watada1,3
  1. 1Department of Medicine, Metabolism and Endocrinology, Juntendo University Graduate School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan;
  2. 2Center for Therapeutic Innovations in Diabetes, Juntendo University Graduate School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan;
  3. 3Sportology Center, Juntendo University Graduate School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan;
  4. 4Center for Beta Cell Biology and Regeneration, Juntendo University Graduate School of Medicine, Tokyo, Japan.
  1. Corresponding author: Tomoya Mita, tom-m{at}, or Hirotaka Watada, hwatada{at}


OBJECTIVE Exogenous administration of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) or GLP-1 receptor agonists such as an exendin-4 has direct beneficial effects on the cardiovascular system. However, their effects on atherosclerogenesis have not been elucidated. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of GLP-1 on accumulation of monocytes/macrophages on the vascular wall, one of the earliest steps in atherosclerogenesis.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS After continuous infusion of low (300 pmol · kg−1 · day−1) or high (24 nmol · kg−1 · day−1) dose of exendin-4 in C57BL/6 or apolipoprotein E–deficient mice (apoE−/−), we evaluated monocyte adhesion to the endothelia of thoracic aorta and arteriosclerotic lesions around the aortic valve. The effects of exendin-4 were investigated in mouse macrophages and human monocytes.

RESULTS Treatment with exendin-4 significantly inhibited monocytic adhesion in the aortas of C57BL/6 mice without affecting metabolic parameters. In apoE−/− mice, the same treatment reduced monocyte adhesion to the endothelium and suppressed atherosclerogenesis. In vitro treatment of mouse macrophages with exendin-4 suppressed lipopolysaccharide-induced mRNA expression of tumor necrosis factor-α and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1, and suppressed nuclear translocation of p65, a component of nuclear factor-κB. This effect was reversed by either MDL-12330A, a cAMP inhibitor or PKI14-22, a protein kinase A–specific inhibitor. In human monocytes, exendin-4 reduced the expression of CD11b.

CONCLUSIONS Our data suggested that GLP-1 receptor agonists reduced monocyte/macrophage accumulation in the arterial wall by inhibiting the inflammatory response in macrophages, and that this effect may contribute to the attenuation of atherosclerotic lesion by exendin-4.


  • The costs of publication of this article were defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. This article must therefore be hereby marked “advertisement” in accordance with 18 U.S.C. Section 1734 solely to indicate this fact.

    • Received November 17, 2009.
    • Accepted December 28, 2009.

Readers may use this article as long as the work is properly cited, the use is educational and not for profit, and the work is not altered. See for details.

| Table of Contents

This Article

  1. Diabetes vol. 59 no. 4 1030-1037
  1. All Versions of this Article:
    1. db09-1694v1
    2. 59/4/1030 most recent