Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is characterised by insulin resistance, glucose intolerance and beta cell loss leading to hyperglycemia. Vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) has been regarded as a novel therapeutic agent for the treatment of T2DM because of its insulinotropic and anti-inflammatory properties. Despite these beneficial properties, VIP is extremely sensitive to peptidases (DPP-4) requiring constant infusion or multiple injections to observe any therapeutic benefit. Thus, we constructed an HIV-based lentiviral vector encoding human VIP (LentiVIP) to test the therapeutic efficacy of VIP peptide in a diet-induced obesity (DIO) animal model of T2DM. VIP gene expression was shown by immunocytochemistry (ICC) and VIP peptide secretion was confirmed by ELISA both in HepG2 liver and MIN6 pancreatic beta cell lines. Functional properties of VIP were demonstrated by cAMP production assay and glucose-stimulated insulin secretion test (GSIS). Intraperitoneal (IP) delivery of LentiVIP vectors into mice significantly increased serum VIP concentrations compared to control mice. Most importantly, LentiVIP delivery in DIO animal model of T2DM resulted in improved insulin sensitivity, glucose tolerance and protection against STZ-induced diabetes in addition to reduction in serum triglyceride/cholesterol levels. Collectively, these data suggest LentiVIP delivery should be evaluated as an experimental therapeutic approach for the treatment of T2DM.
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Acknowledgements This study is supported by grants from Akdeniz University Scientific Research Administration Division and the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TUBITAK-111S157).
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