Binda, P., Eldor, R., Huerta, C., Adams, J., Lancaster, J., Fox, P., et al. (2019). Exenatide modulates visual cortex responses, Diabetes Metab Res Rev, e3167.
BACKGROUND: Increasing evidence suggests that metabolism affects brain physiology. Here, we examine the effect of GLP-1 on simple visual-evoked functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) responses in cortical areas. METHODS: Lean (n = 10) and nondiabetic obese (n = 10) subjects received exenatide (a GLP-1 agonist) or saline infusion, and fMRI responses to visual stimuli (food and nonfood images) were recorded. We analysed the effect of exenatide on fMRI signals across the cortical surface with special reference to the visual areas. We evaluated the effects of exenatide on the raw fMRI signal and on the fMRI signal change during visual stimulation (vs rest). RESULTS: In line with previous studies, we find that exenatide eliminates the preference for food (over nonfood) images present under saline infusion in high-level visual cortex (temporal pole). In addition, we find that exenatide (vs saline) also modulates the response of early visual areas, enhancing responses to both food and nonfood images in several extrastriate occipital areas, similarly in obese and lean participants. Unexpectedly, exenatide increased fMRI raw signals (signal intensity during rest periods without stimulation) in a large occipital region, which were negatively correlated to BMI. CONCLUSIONS: In both lean and obese individuals, exenatide affects neural processing in visual cortex, both in early visual areas and in higher order areas. This effect may contribute to the known effect of GLP1 analogues on food-related behaviour.