Recent studies in mouse models showed that Liraglutide can modulate gut microbiota suggesting this as one of the factors favoring the drug-induced weight loss. We here aimed to observationally evaluate the effect of Liraglutide on gut microbiota composition in obese diabetic humans. 11 obese diabetic subjects (age 59.6 ± 9.8; HbA1C 7.7 ± 2.7%; weight: 95.5 ± 17 kg), candidates to receive GLP-1-analogs, were included. All subjects underwent, before (B) and after 6 weeks of treatment (PT) with Liraglutide 1.2 mg, metabolic evaluation (BMI, glucose, HbA1c and LDL-cholesterol). Lactulose Breath Test (LBT) was performed to characterize gut microbiota, measuring hydrogen (H2) and methane (CH4) production; while gastric emptying time (t/2) was assessed by Octanoic Acid Breath Test. All subjects experienced a significant weight loss (BMI B: 33.9 ± 4.5 kg/m2, PT: 29.9 ± 4.2 kg/m2, p 0,001), and a significant reduction of fasting plasma glucose (FPG) (FPG B: 146.4 ± 31.5 mg/dl, PT: 118.6 ± 33.1 mg/dl p 0.02), Hb1Ac (HbA1C B: 7.7 ± 2.7%, PT: 6.2 ± 1% p 0.001) and LDL-cholesterol (LDL B: 89.5 ± 39.3 mg/dl; PT: 68.4 ± 35.9 mg/dl, p 0.006). Methane and Hydrogen production (AUC) were significantly reduced by Liraglutide in the post-treatment group (H2 B: 5093.8 ± 933 ppm, PT: 2495.5 ± 525 ppm, p 0.02; CH4 B: 1887.9 ± 286.3, PT: 1212.3 ± 334 ppm, p 0.02); moreover, the LBT revealed that Liraglutide is able to significantly slow down the Oro-cecal Transit Time (OTT). As expected, gastric emptying was significantly delayed after Liraglutide treatment (t/2 B: 72.6 ± 8.2 min, PT: 118.2 ± 25 min p 0.05). We, here, show that Liraglutide reduces intestinal gases production, which is an indirect measure of changes in gut microbiota.

In conclusion, we highlight the close relationship between glucose lowering effect of Liraglutide and the intestinal microbiota composition, suggesting that the treatment effect may be potentially mediated by changes in gut microbiota, which could in turn represent a new therapeutic target for treatment of type 2 diabetes.


S. Moffa: None. V. Tesori: None. T. Mezza: None. C. Cefalo: None. F. Cinti: None. G. Sorice: None. A. Giaccari: Advisory Panel; Self; Sanofi. Board Member; Self; Novo Nordisk A/S. Speaker's Bureau; Self; Amgen Inc., AstraZeneca, Merck Sharp & Dohme Corp., Sanofi.

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