Glucose-Lowering Effects and Low Risk of Hypoglycemia in Patients With Maturity-Onset Diabetes of the Young When Treated With a GLP-1 Receptor Agonist: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Crossover Trial

  1. Tina Vilsbøll1,6
  1. 1Diabetes Research Division, Department of Medicine, Gentofte Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Hellerup, Denmark
  2. 2Department of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  3. 3NNF Center for Basic Metabolic Research, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  4. 4Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark
  5. 5Department of Medicine, Herlev Hospital, University of Copenhagen, Herlev, Denmark
  6. 6Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark
  1. Corresponding author: Signe H. Østoft, s.ostoft{at}


OBJECTIVE The most common form of maturity-onset diabetes of the young (MODY), hepatocyte nuclear factor 1α (HNF1A diabetes: MODY3) is often treated with sulfonylureas that confer a high risk of hypoglycemia. We evaluated treatment with GLP-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1RAs) in patients with HNF1A diabetes.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS Sixteen patients with HNF1A diabetes (8 women; mean age 39 years [range 23–67 years]; BMI 24.9 ± 0.5 kg/m2 [mean ± SEM]; fasting plasma glucose [FPG] 9.9 ± 0.9 mmol/L; HbA1c 6.4 ± 0.2% [47 ± 3 mmol/mol]) received 6 weeks of treatment with a GLP-1RA (liraglutide) and placebo (tablets), as well as a sulfonylurea (glimepiride) and placebo (injections), in randomized order, in a double-blind, crossover trial. Glimepiride was up-titrated once weekly in a treat-to-target manner; liraglutide was up-titrated once weekly to 1.8 mg once daily. At baseline and at the end of each treatment period a standardized liquid meal test was performed, including a 30-min light bicycle test.

RESULTS FPG decreased during the treatment periods (−1.6 ± 0.5 mmol/L liraglutide [P = 0.012] and −2.8 ± 0.7 mmol/L glimepiride [P = 0.003]), with no difference between treatments (P = 0.624). Postprandial plasma glucose (PG) responses (total area under the curve) were lower with both glimepiride (2,136 ± 292 min × mmol/L) and liraglutide (2,624 ± 340 min × mmol/L) compared with baseline (3,127 ± 291 min × mmol/L; P < 0.001, glimepiride; P = 0.017, liraglutide), with no difference between treatments (P = 0.121). Eighteen episodes of hypoglycemia (PG ≤3.9 mmol/L) occurred during glimepiride treatment and one during liraglutide treatment.

CONCLUSIONS Six weeks of treatment with glimepiride or liraglutide lowered FPG and postprandial glucose excursions in patients with HNF1A diabetes. The glucose-lowering effect was greater with glimepiride at the expense of a higher risk of exclusively mild hypoglycemia.

  • Received December 23, 2013.
  • Accepted April 23, 2014.

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