AIMS: To evaluate the effects of the dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitor linagliptin on aortic pulse wave velocity (PWV) as a surrogate marker of arterial stiffness and early atherosclerosis in people with early type 2 diabetes.
METHODS: A total of 45 people with type 2 diabetes (median [interquartile range] age 63 [54-66] years, 61% men, mean ± standard deviation glycated haemoglobin [HbA1c] 6.3% ± 0.4% [45 ± 4.6 mmol/mol]), without cardiovascular disease and naïve to antidiabetic treatment, were randomized (1:1) to treatment with linagliptin 5 mg once daily or placebo for 26 weeks in a double-blind fashion. PWV was assessed at baseline, 4 and 26 weeks of treatment, and again at 30, 4 weeks after treatment. The primary endpoint was between-group difference in PWV (corrected for systolic blood pressure [SBP]) at week 26. Secondary endpoints included differences in central SBP and augmentation index (AIx).
RESULTS: Compared with placebo, 26 weeks of linagliptin decreased PWV by an average of 0.91 m/s (95% confidence interval -1.76 to -0.06; P = .035). PWV returned to baseline after 4 weeks washout. Differences in central SBP and AIx were not different between linagliptin and placebo. Linagliptin decreased HbA1c (-0.4%; P < .001), fasting plasma glucose (-0.7 mmol/L; P = .002) and triglycerides (-0.49 mmol/L; P = .019) as compared with placebo. The changes in body weight, cholesterol and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein did not differ between groups.
CONCLUSIONS: Linagliptin decreased aortic PWV in people with early-stage type 2 diabetes as compared with placebo after 26 weeks of treatment. These results suggest that linagliptin has a favourable effect on arterial stiffness.