Racecadotril is known as an inhibitor of enkephalinase. Increase of plasma insulin by racecadotril has been observed in rats while the mechanism of the action remains obscure. In the present study, intravenous injection of male Wistar rats with racecadotril significantly decreased blood glucose levels. However, this effect of racecadotril was not modified by naloxone at the dose sufficient to block opioid receptors. Thus, the blood glucose-lowering action of racecadotril might be through an endogenous opioid independent mechanism. Otherwise, we found that C-peptide content was also raised by racecadotril in parallel with the increase of insulin in Wistar rats. Thus, the blood glucose-lowering action of racecadotril was related to insulin secretion, but not through the inhibition of plasma insulin degradation. In addition, racecadotril showed no direct effect on insulin secretion in isolated islets or cultured HIT-T15 cells. The increase of plasma insulin and blood glucose-lowering action induced by racecadotril were reduced by pretreatment with atropine and enhanced by physotigmine. Direct inhibition of cholinesterase was not observed in brain homogenates treated with racecadotril. Moreover, actions of racecadotril were significantly reduced in rats receiving hemicholinium-3 at a sufficient dose to decrease endogenous acetylcholine. Activation of cholinergic tone is possibly involved in the blood glucose-lowering effect of racecadotril. Our results suggested that racecadotril increased insulin secretion to lower blood glucose mainly via regulation of parasympathetic tone in Wistar rats.
ASJC Scopus subject areas