Perspectives on cardiovascular effects of incretin-based drugs: From bedside to bench, return trip

Michaela Luconi, Giulia Cantini, Antonio Ceriello, Edoardo Mannucci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recently, cardiovascular outcome trials with glucose-lowering drugs used in type 2 diabetes mellitus, namely glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1RA), liraglutide and semaglutide, showed a reduction in cardiovascular events, which had not been observed in trials with other incretin-based drugs, such as lixisenatide or with dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors (DPP4i). Mechanisms underlying the observed cardiovascular differences between DPP4i and GLP1-RA, and across individual GLP1-RA are poorly understood. This review is aimed at collecting and summarizing available evidence from experimental and mechanistic studies on the action of GLP1-RA and DPP4i on the cardiovascular system, both deriving from clinical and pre-clinical sources. The results of cardiovascular outcome trials are interpreted on the basis of the experimental preclinical data available, paying particular attention to the heart failure results, and suggesting some novel intriguing hypotheses to explain some of the unexpected findings of cardioprotection of incretin-based drugs. In particular, we discuss the possible contribution to the incretin cardiovascular effects of a direct cardiac action of GLP-1 metabolites through GLP-1 receptor-independent pathways, and of DPP4 substrates other than GLP-1.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)302-310
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Cardiology
Publication statusPublished - Aug 15 2017


  • Cardiovascular outcome trials
  • Dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors
  • Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists
  • Heart failure
  • Inflammatory chemokines
  • MACE

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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