Suppression of glucagon hypersecretion can normalize hyperglycemia during type 1 diabetes (T1D). Activating erythropoietin-producing human hepatocellular receptor type-A4 (EphA4) on α cells reduced glucagon hypersecretion from dispersed α cells and T1D islets from both human donor and mouse models. We synthesized a high-affinity small molecule agonist for the EphA4 receptor, WCDD301, which showed robust plasma and liver microsome metabolic stability in both mouse and human preparations. In islets and dispersed islet cells from nondiabetic and T1D human donors, WCDD301 reduced glucagon secretion comparable to the natural EphA4 ligand, Ephrin-A5. In diabetic NOD and streptozotocin-treated mice, once-daily oral administration of WCDD301 formulated with a time-release excipient reduced plasma glucagon and normalized blood glucose for more than 3 months. These results suggest that targeting the α cell EphA4 receptor by sustained release of WCDD301 is a promising pharmacologic pathway for normalizing hyperglycemia in patients with T1D.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere172626
JournalJCI Insight
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 2024


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