In October 2020, the results of a cohort data study funded by Cure Parkinson’s reported that a particular class of diabetes treatments called DPP4 inhibitors can reduce the risk of developing Parkinson’s in people with type 2 diabetes.

Now, a research group in South Korea has published results of their trial which provide an independent replication of these data results, and give further evidence that this class of drug can slow down the development of Parkinson’s in people with diabetes.

Background

DPP4 is an enzyme that sits on the surface of most cell types in the human body and has a major role in glucose metabolism. DPP4 helps to breakdown different essential proteins, in particular it breaks down a gut hormone, commonly known as GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1). GLP-1 increases insulin production in the body, and so drugs that mimic the effects of GLP-1 are used to treat type 2 diabetes. Given that the enzyme DPP4 is known to breakdown GLP-1, drugs that inhibit DPP4 have also been developed to treat diabetes; by blocking the breakdown of GLP-1, DPP4 inhibitors enable the amount of GLP-1 in the body to increase, and as a result levels of insulin in the body increases.

Next steps

A clinical trial of the DPP4 inhibitor alogliptin in people with Parkinson’s, is currently being conducted through our International Linked Clinical Trials programme evaluating its disease modifying potential in people with Parkinson’s.

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