Takeda G protein-coupled receptor 5 (TGR5) agonists induce systemic release of glucagon-like peptides (GLPs) from intestinal L cells, a potentially therapeutic action against metabolic diseases such as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and Type 2 diabetes. Historically, TGR5 agonist use has been hindered by side effects, including inhibition of gallbladder emptying. Here, we characterize RDX8940, a novel, orally administered TGR5 agonist designed to have minimal systemic effects and investigate its activity in mice fed a Western diet, a model of NAFLD and mild insulin resistance. Agonist activity, binding selectivity, toxicity, solubility, and permeability of RDX8940 were characterized in standard in vitro models. RDX8940 pharmacokinetics and effects on GLP secretion, insulin sensitivity, and liver steatosis were assessed in C57BL/6 mice fed normal or Western diet chow and given single or repeated doses of RDX8940 or vehicle, with or without dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP4) inhibitors. Gallbladder effects were assessed in CD-1 mice fed normal chow and given RDX8940 or a systemic TGR5 agonist or vehicle. Our results showed that RDX8940 is minimally systemic, potent, and selective, and induces incretin (GLP-1, GLP-2, and peptide YY) secretion. RDX8940-induced increases in plasma active GLP-1 (aGLP-1) levels were enhanced by repeated dosing and by coadministration of DPP4 inhibitors. RDX8940 increased hepatic exposure to aGLP-1 without requiring coadministration of a DPP4 inhibitor. In mice fed a Western diet, RDX8940 improved liver steatosis and insulin sensitivity. Unlike systemic TGR5 agonists, RDX8940 did not inhibit gallbladder emptying. These results indicate that RDX8940 may have therapeutic potential in patients with NAFLD/NASH.
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Date of publication: 1 March 2019; American Journal of Physiology: Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Author information: Patricia D. Finn (1); David Rodriguez (1); Jill Kohler (1); Zhengfeng Jiang (1); Sindy Wan (1); Erick Blanco (1); Andrew J. King (1); Tao Chen (1); Noah Bell (1); Dean Dragoli (1); Jeffry W. Jacobs (1); Rakesh Jain (1); Michael Leadbetter (1); Matthew Siegel (1); Christopher W. Carreras (1); Samantha Koo-McCoy (1); Karen Shaw (1); Cathy Le (1); Sandra Vanegas (1); I-Hsin Hsu (1); Kenji Kozuka (1); Keiko Okamoto (1); Jeremy S. Caldwell (1); & Jason G. Lewis (1)
(1) Ardelyx, Incorporated, Freemont, California, USA