February 21, 2023

Diabetes drug may improve asthma

New biomarker finding strengthens the case for using GLP-1R agonists to treat patients with Type 2 diabetes who also suffer from asthma.

Type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity are associated with many comorbidities, including asthma. Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist (GLP-1RA) drugs, which have been approved for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes, also may reduce asthma risk, although the mechanisms remain undefined. 

New research conducted by Katherine Cahill, MD, and colleagues at VUMC and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston found significantly lower levels of periostin in the serum of patients with Type 2 diabetes who were treated with GLP-1RA drugs, a finding that was independent of weight loss. 

Periostin is a known clinical biomarker of treatment response in asthma clinical trials. These findings suggest that GLP-1RA use may reduce the risk for poor asthma outcomes in patients with Type 2 diabetes and obesity by impacting pathways relevant to airway inflammation.

This work, published in the journal Clinical & Experimental Allergy, strengthens the case for using GLP-1RA drugs to treat Type 2 diabetes patients who also suffer from asthma.

VUMC co-authors were William E. Snyder, Mona Mashayekhi, MD, PhD, Hui Nian, PhD, and James M. Luther, MD, MSCI.  

The research was supported in part by National Institutes of Health grants AI078908, HL117945, AI052353, AI136041, AI095219, AI095227, AI155299, TR002243, TR000445, HL161332, AI118804, TR002245, DK007061, AR070253, and by the American Heart Association.