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Experimental Diabetes Research
Volume 2011, Article ID 898913, 8 pages
Review Article

From Theory to Clinical Practice in the Use of GLP-1 Receptor Agonists and DPP-4 Inhibitors Therapy

Section of Endocrinology, Department of Clinical Pathophysiology, University of Florence, Viale Pieraccini 6, 50134 Florence, Italy

Received 23 February 2011; Accepted 14 April 2011

Academic Editor: Matteo Monami

Copyright © 2011 Ilaria Dicembrini et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Promoting long-term adherence to lifestyle modification and choice of antidiabetic agent with low hypoglycemia risk profile and positive weight profile could be the most effective strategy in achieving sustained glycemic control and in reducing comorbidities. From this perspective, vast interest has been generated by glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists and dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors (DPP-4i). In this review our ten-year clinical and laboratory experience by in vitro and in vivo studies is reported. Herein, we reviewed available data on the efficacy and safety profile of GLP-1 receptor agonists and DPP-4i. The introduction of incretin hormone-based therapies represents a novel therapeutic strategy, because these drugs not only improve glycemia with minimal risk of hypoglycemia but also have other extraglycemic beneficial effects. In clinical studies, both GLP-1 receptor agonists and DPP-4i, improve β cell function indexes. All these agents showed trophic effects on beta-cell mass in animal studies. The use of these drugs is associated with positive or neucral effect on body weight and improvements in blood pressure, diabetic dyslipidemia, hepatic steazosis markets, and myocardial function. These effects have the potential to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease, which is a major cause of mortality in patients with diabetes.