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Increased hepatic glucose production is a key pathophysiological feature of type 2 diabetes. Like all other cell types, hepatocytes express many G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) that are linked to different functional classes of heterotrimeric G proteins. The important physiological functions mediated by G(s)-coupled hepatic glucagon receptors are well-documented. In contrast, little is known about the in vivo physiological roles of hepatocyte GPCRs that are linked to G proteins of the G(q) family. To address this issue, we established a transgenic mouse line (Hep-Rq mice) that expressed a G(q)-linked designer receptor (Rq) in a hepatocyte-selective fashion. Importantly, Rq could no longer bind endogenous ligands but could be selectively activated by a synthetic drug, clozapine-N-oxide. Clozapine-N-oxide treatment of Hep-Rq mice enabled us to determine the metabolic consequences caused by selective activation of a G(q)-coupled GPCR in hepatocytes in vivo. We found that acute Rq activation in vivo led to pronounced increases in blood glucose levels, resulting from increased rates of glycogen breakdown and gluconeogenesis. We also demonstrated that the expression of the V(1b) vasopressin receptor, a G(q)-coupled receptor expressed by hepatocytes, was drastically increased in livers of ob/ob mice, a mouse model of diabetes. Strikingly, treatment of ob/ob mice with a selective V(1b) receptor antagonist led to reduced glucose excursions in a pyruvate challenge test. Taken together, these findings underscore the importance of G(q)-coupled receptors in regulating hepatic glucose fluxes and suggest novel receptor targets for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
BACKGROUND - The course of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) is often associated with pain, hypertension, and kidney failure. Preclinical studies indicated that vasopressin V(2)-receptor antagonists inhibit cyst growth and slow the decline of kidney function.
METHODS - In this phase 3, multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 3-year trial, we randomly assigned 1445 patients, 18 to 50 years of age, who had ADPKD with a total kidney volume of 750 ml or more and an estimated creatinine clearance of 60 ml per minute or more, in a 2:1 ratio to receive tolvaptan, a V(2)-receptor antagonist, at the highest of three twice-daily dose regimens that the patient found tolerable, or placebo. The primary outcome was the annual rate of change in the total kidney volume. Sequential secondary end points included a composite of time to clinical progression (defined as worsening kidney function, kidney pain, hypertension, and albuminuria) and rate of kidney-function decline.
RESULTS - Over a 3-year period, the increase in total kidney volume in the tolvaptan group was 2.8% per year (95% confidence interval [CI], 2.5 to 3.1), versus 5.5% per year in the placebo group (95% CI, 5.1 to 6.0; P<0.001). The composite end point favored tolvaptan over placebo (44 vs. 50 events per 100 follow-up-years, P=0.01), with lower rates of worsening kidney function (2 vs. 5 events per 100 person-years of follow-up, P<0.001) and kidney pain (5 vs. 7 events per 100 person-years of follow-up, P=0.007). Tolvaptan was associated with a slower decline in kidney function (reciprocal of the serum creatinine level, -2.61 [mg per milliliter](-1) per year vs. -3.81 [mg per milliliter](-1) per year; P<0.001). There were fewer ADPKD-related adverse events in the tolvaptan group but more events related to aquaresis (excretion of electrolyte-free water) and hepatic adverse events unrelated to ADPKD, contributing to a higher discontinuation rate (23%, vs. 14% in the placebo group).
CONCLUSIONS - Tolvaptan, as compared with placebo, slowed the increase in total kidney volume and the decline in kidney function over a 3-year period in patients with ADPKD but was associated with a higher discontinuation rate, owing to adverse events. (Funded by Otsuka Pharmaceuticals and Otsuka Pharmaceutical Development and Commercialization; TEMPO 3:4 ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00428948.).
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES - Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD), a frequent cause of end-stage renal disease, has no cure. V2-specific vasopressin receptor antagonists delay disease progression in animal models.
DESIGN, SETTING, PARTICIPANTS, AND MEASUREMENTS - This is a prospectively designed analysis of annual total kidney volume (TKV) and thrice annual estimated GFR (eGFR) measurements, from two 3-year studies of tolvaptan in 63 ADPKD subjects randomly matched 1:2 to historical controls by gender, hypertension, age, and baseline TKV or eGFR. Prespecified end points were group differences in log-TKV (primary) and eGFR (secondary) slopes for month 36 completers, using linear mixed model (LMM) analysis. Sensitivity analyses of primary and secondary end points included LMM using all subject data and mixed model repeated measures (MMRM) of change from baseline at each year. Pearson correlation tested the association between log-TKV and eGFR changes.
RESULTS - Fifty-one subjects (81%) completed 3 years of tolvaptan therapy; all experienced adverse events (AEs), with AEs accounting for six of 12 withdrawals. Baseline TKV (controls 1422, tolvaptan 1635 ml) and eGFR (both 62 ml/min per 1.73 m(2)) were similar. Control TKV increased 5.8% versus 1.7%/yr for tolvaptan (P < 0.001, estimated ratio of geometric mean 0.96 [95% confidence interval 0.95 to 0.97]). Corresponding annualized eGFR declined: -2.1 versus -0.71 ml/min per 1.73 m(2)/yr (P = 0.01, LMM group difference 1.1 ml/min per 1.73 m(2)/yr [95% confidence interval 0.24 to 1.9]). Sensitivity analyses including withdrawn subjects were similar, whereas MMRM analyses were significant at each year for TKV and nonsignificant for eGFR. Increasing TKV correlated with decreasing eGFR (r = -0.21, P < 0.01).
CONCLUSION - ADPKD cyst growth progresses more slowly with tolvaptan than in historical controls, but AEs are common.