Angiogenic T cells are decreased in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus and recruited by the dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitor Linagliptin: A subanalysis from a randomized, placebo-controlled trial (RELEASE study)

Stefanie A. Boer, Melanie Reijrink, Wayel H. Abdulahad, Elisa S. Hoekstra, Riemer H. J. A. Slart, Hiddo J. L. Heerspink, Johanna Westra, Douwe J. Mulder*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

77 Downloads (Pure)


Angiogenic T (Tang) cells are mediators of vascular repair, and are characterized by surface expression of CXCR4. This receptor for stromal cell-derived factor-1α (SDF-1α) is cleaved by dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4). Tang cell levels were investigated in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) compared with matched healthy controls and after treatment with the DPP-4 inhibitor Linagliptin. People with T2DM were randomized to 5 mg/day Linagliptin (n = 20) or placebo (n = 21) for 26 weeks. Tang cell frequency was identified in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (CD3+CD31+CXCR4+) and levels of endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) (CD34+CD133+KDR+) were also assessed in whole blood. Circulating Tang cell levels were significantly lower in people with T2DM compared with the healthy control group. SDF-1α levels increased significantly in Linagliptin-treated people with T2DM compared to placebo, and a trend was observed in change of Tang cell levels, while EPC count did not change. In conclusion, circulating Tang cell levels were considerably lower in people with T2DM, while a trend was observed in recruitment of Tang cells after 26 weeks of treatment with Linagliptin. These data suggest that DPP-4 inhibitors may potentially exert beneficial effects on bone marrow-driven vascular repair.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1220-1225
Number of pages6
JournalDiabetes obesity & metabolism
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 27-Mar-2020


  • angiogenic T cells
  • dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors
  • Linagliptin
  • stromal cell-derived factor-1 alpha (SDF-1 alpha)
  • type 2 diabetes mellitus

Cite this