Background Recently, it has been suggested that enhancement of incretin effect improves cardiac function. We investigated the effect of a DPP-IV inhibitor, des-fluoro-sitagliptin, in reducing occurrence of restenosis in carotid artery in response to balloon injury and the related mechanisms. Methods and Findings Otsuka Long-Evans Tokushima Fatty rats were grouped into four: control (normal saline) and sitagliptin 100, 250 and 500 mg/kg per day (n = 10 per group). Sitagliptin or normal saline were given orally from 1 week before to 2 weeks after carotid injury. After 3 weeks of treatment, sitagliptin treatment caused a significant and dose-dependent reduction in intima-media ratio (IMR) in obese diabetic rats. This effect was accompanied by improved glucose homeostasis, decreased circulating levels of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) and increased adiponectin level. Moreover, decreased IMR was correlated significantly with reduced hsCRP, tumor necrosis factor-α and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 levels and plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 activity. In vitro evidence with vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) demonstrated that proliferation and migration were decreased significantly after sitagliptin treatment. In addition, sitagliptin increased caspase-3 activity and decreased monocyte adhesion and NFκB activation in VSMCs. Conclusions Sitagliptin has protective properties against restenosis after carotid injury and therapeutic implications for treating macrovascular complications of diabetes.
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