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Experimental Diabetes Research
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 635472, 9 pages
Review Article

Cardiovascular Benefits of GLP-1-BasedTherapies in Patients with Diabetes Mellitus Type 2: Effects on Endothelial and Vascular Dysfunction beyond Glycemic Control

1Institute for Clinical Research and Development, 55116 Mainz, Germany
2First Medical Department, Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz, Germany

Received 4 January 2012; Accepted 6 February 2012

Academic Editor: Matteo Monami

Copyright © 2012 Thomas Forst 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.


Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a progressive multisystemic disease accompanied by vascular dysfunction and a tremendous increase in cardiovascular mortality. Numerous adipose-tissue-derived factors and beta cell dysfunction contribute to the increased cardiovascular risk in patients with T2DM. Nowadays, numerous pharmacological interventions are available to lower blood glucose levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. Beside more or less comparable glucose lowering efficacy, some of them have shown limited or probably even unfavorable effects on the cardiovascular system and overall mortality. Recently, incretin-based therapies (GLP-1 receptor agonists and DPP-IV inhibitors) have been introduced in the treatment of T2DM. Beside the effects of GLP-1 on insulin secretion, glucagon secretion, and gastrointestinal motility, recent studies suggested a couple of direct cardiovascular effects of GLP-1-based therapies. The goal of this paper is to provide an overview about the current knowledge of direct GLP-1 effects on endothelial and vascular function and potential consequences on the cardiovascular outcome in patients with T2DM treated with GLP-1 receptor agonists or DPP-IV inhibitors.