Dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP-4) and neprilysin (NEP) rapidly degrade glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) in mice. Commercially available sandwich ELISA kits may not accurately detect the degradation products, leading to potentially misleading results. We aimed to stabilize GLP-1 in mice, allowing reliable measurement with sensitive commercially available ELISA kits. Nonanesthetized male C57Bl/6JRj mice were subjected to an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT; 2 g/kg glucose), and plasma total and intact GLP-1 were measured (Mercodia and Alpco ELISA kits, respectively). No GLP-1 increases were seen in samples taken beyond 15 min after the glucose load. Samples taken at 5 and 10 min after the OGTT showed a minor increase in total, but not intact, GLP-1. We then administered saline (control), or a DPP-4 inhibitor (valine pyrrolidide or sitagliptin) with or without an NEP-inhibitor (sacubitril), 30 min before the OGTT. In the inhibitor groups only, intact GLP-1 increased significantly during the OGTT. After injecting male C57Bl/6JRj mice with a known dose of GLP-1(7-36)NH2, peak GLP-1 levels were barely detectable after saline but were 5- to 10-fold higher during sitagliptin and the combination of sitagliptin/sacubitril. The half-life of the GLP-1 plasma disappearance increased up to sevenfold during inhibitor treatment. We conclude that reliable measurement of GLP-1 secretion is not possible in mice in vivo with commercially available sandwich ELISA kits, unless degradation is prevented by inhibition of DPP-4 and perhaps NEP. The described approach allows improved estimates of GLP-1 secretion for future studies, although it is a limitation that these inhibitors additionally influence levels of insulin and glucagon.

Article Highlights
  • Reliable measurement of glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) in mice using commercially available ELISA kits is challenging because of rapid degradation by the enzymes dipeptidyl peptidase 4 and neprilysin.

  • Total GLP-1 secretion can best be assessed early after giving a stimulus, yet at the risk of additionally measuring stress-induced GLP-1(1-36)NH2.

  • Intact GLP-1 can only be measured with concomitant in vivo inhibition of dipeptidyl peptidase 4 and perhaps neprilysin.

This article contains supplementary material online at https://doi.org/10.2337/figshare.25103504.

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