Glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonist, exendin-4, reduces alcohol-associated fatty liver disease

Sundararajan Mahalingam, Ramesh Bellamkonda, Madan Kumar Arumugam, Sathish Kumar Perumal, Jessica Yoon, Carol Casey, Kusum Kharbanda, Karuna Rasineni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Fatty liver is the earliest response to excessive ethanol consumption, which increases the susceptibility of the liver to develop advanced stage of liver disease. Our previous studies have revealed that chronic alcohol administration alters metabolic hormone levels and their functions. Of current interest to our laboratory is glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), a widely studied hormone known to reduce insulin resistance and hepatic fat accumulation in patients with metabolic-associated fatty liver disease. In this study, we examined the beneficial effects of exendin-4 (a GLP-1 receptor agonist) in an experimental rat model of ALD. Male Wistar rats were pair-fed the Lieber-DeCarli control or ethanol diet. After 4 weeks of this feeding regimen, a subset of rats in each group were intraperitoneally injected every other day with either saline or exendin-4 at a dose of 3 nmol/kg/day (total 13 doses) while still being fed their respective diet. At the end of the treatment, rats were fasted for 6 h and glucose tolerance test was conducted. The following day, the rats were euthanized, and the blood and tissue samples collected for subsequent analysis. We found that exendin-4 treatment had no significant effect on body weight gain among the experimental groups. Exendin-4-treated ethanol rats exhibited improved alcohol-induced alterations in liver/body weight and adipose/body weight ratio, serum ALT, NEFA, insulin, adiponectin and hepatic triglyceride levels. Reduction in indices of hepatic steatosis in exendin-4 treated ethanol-fed rats was attributed to improved insulin signaling and fat metabolism. These results strongly suggest that exendin-4 mitigates alcohol-associated hepatic steatosis by regulating fat metabolism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number115613
JournalBiochemical Pharmacology
StatePublished - Jul 2023


  • Chronic alcohol
  • Exendin-4
  • Fatty liver disease
  • GLP-1
  • Insulin sensitivity
  • Organ crosstalk

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology


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