Dipeptidyl peptidase 4 inhibitors are used worldwide in the management of diabetes, but their role in the prevention or treatment of cardiovascular disorders has yet to be defined. We found that linagliptin, a DPP-4 inhibitor, suppressed capillary rarefaction in the hearts of mice with dietary obesity. Metabolomic analysis performed with capillary electrophoresis/ mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) showed that linagliptin promoted favorable metabolic remodeling in cardiac tissue, which was characterized by high levels of citrulline and creatine. DNA microarray analysis revealed that the cardiac tissue level of early growth response protein 1 (EGR-1), which activates angiogenesis, was significantly reduced in untreated mice with dietary obesity, while this decrease was inhibited by administration of linagliptin. Mature fibroblast growth factor 2 (FGF-2) has a putative truncation site for DPP-4 at the NH2-terminal, and LC-MS/MS showed that recombinant DPP-4 protein cleaved the NH2-terminal dipeptides of mature FGF-2. Incubation of cultured neonatal rat cardiomyocytes with FGF-2 increased Egr1 expression, while it was suppressed by recombinant DPP-4 protein. Furthermore, vascular endothelial growth factor-A had a critical role in mediating FGF-2/EGR-1 signaling. In conclusion, pharmacological inhibition of DPP-4 suppressed capillary rarefaction and contributed to favorable remodeling of cardiac metabolism in mice with dietary obesity.
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