Nondigestible fermentable dietary fibers such as oligofructose (OFS) exert an antidiabetic effect and increase the secretion of glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1). To determine the importance of GLP-1 receptor-dependent mechanisms for the actions of OFS, we studied high-fat-fed diabetic mice treated with OFS for 4 weeks in the presence or absence of the GLP-1 receptor antagonist exendin 9-39 (Ex-9). OFS improved glucose tolerance, fasting blood glucose, glucose-stimulated insulin secretion, and insulin-sensitive hepatic glucose production and reduced body weight gain. Ex-9 totally prevented the beneficial effects of OFS. Furthermore, GLP-1 receptor knockout mice (GLP-1R−/−) were completely insensitive to the antidiabetic actions of OFS. At the molecular level, the effects of OFS on endogenous glucose production correlated with changes of hepatic IRS (insulin receptor substrate)-2 and Akt phosphorylation in an Ex-9-dependent manner. As inflammation is associated with diabetes and obesity, we quantified nuclear factor-κB and inhibitor of κB kinase β in the liver. The activity of both intracellular inflammatory effectors was reduced by OFS but, importantly, this effect could not be reverted by Ex-9. In summary, our data show that the antidiabetic actions of OFS require a functional GLP-1 receptor. These findings highlight the therapeutic potential of enhancing endogenous GLP-1 secretion for the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
In conclusion, OFS attenuates the development of diabetes and obesity induced by high-fat feeding in mice through a mechanism requiring a functional GLP-1 receptor. We further demonstrate that an important physiological mechanism responsible for the OFS-mediated improvement in glucose tolerance was an increase in hepatic insulin sensitivity. In the light of our recent data, we could speculate that some of the effect of OFS might be dependant on GLP-1 in the brain. Whether OFS may generate similar GLP-1-dependent beneficial effects in humans without unanticipated undesirable side effects remains to be determined.