An emerging role of dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP4) beyond glucose control: Potential implications in cardiovascular disease

Jixin Zhong, Xiaoquan Rao, Sanjay Rajagopalan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

174 Scopus citations


The introduction of dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP4) inhibitors for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes acknowledges the fundamental importance of incretin hormones in the regulation of glycemia. Small molecule inhibitors of DPP4 exert their effects via inhibition of enzymatic degradation of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and glucose-dependent insulinotropic peptide (GIP). The widespread expression of DPP4 in tissues such as the vasculature and immune cells suggests that this protein may play a role in cardiovascular function. DPP4 is known to exert its effects via both enzymatic and non-enzymatic mechanisms. A soluble form of DPP4 lacking the cytoplasmic and transmembrane domain has also been recently recognized. Besides enzymatic inactivation of incretins, DPP4 also mediates degradation of many chemokines and neuropeptides. The non-enzymatic function of DPP4 plays a critical role in providing co-stimulatory signals to T cells via adenosine deaminase (ADA). DPP4 may also regulate inflammatory responses in innate immune cells such as monocytes and dendritic cells. The multiplicity of functions and targets suggests that DPP4 may play a distinct role aside from its effects on the incretin axis. Indeed recent studies in experimental models of atherosclerosis provide evidence for a robust effect for these drugs in attenuating inflammation and plaque development. Several prospective randomized controlled clinical trials in humans with established atherosclerosis are testing the effects of DPP4 inhibition on hard cardiovascular events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-314
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2013


  • Atherosclerosis
  • CD26
  • DPP4
  • Inflammation
  • Type 2 diabetes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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