Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is associated with pancreatic β-cell dysfunction which can be induced by oxidative stress. Deuterohemin-βAla-His-Thr-Val-Glu-Lys (DhHP-6) is a microperoxidase mimetic that can scavenge reactive oxygen species (ROS) in vivo. In our previous studies, we demonstrated an increased stability of linear peptides upon their covalent attachment to porphyrins. In this study, we assessed the utility of DhHP-6 as an oral anti-diabetic drug in vitro and in vivo. DhHP-6 showed high resistance to proteolytic degradation in vitro and in vivo. The degraded DhHP-6 product in gastrointestinal (GI) fluid retained the enzymatic activity of DhHP-6, but displayed a higher permeability coefficient. DhHP-6 protected against the cell damage induced by H2
and promoted insulin secretion in INS-1 cells. In the T2DM model, DhHP-6 reduced blood glucose levels and facilitated the recovery of blood lipid disorders. DhHP-6 also mitigated both insulin resistance and glucose tolerance. Most importantly, DhHP-6 promoted the recovery of damaged pancreas islets. These findings suggest that DhHP-6 in physiological environments has high stability against enzymatic degradation and maintains enzymatic activity. As DhHP-6 lowered the fasting blood glucose levels of T2DM mice, it thus represents a promising candidate for oral administration and clinical therapy.
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