Single-agent FOXO1 inhibition normalizes glycemia and induces gut β-like cells in streptozotocin-diabetic mice

Yun-Kyoung Lee, Wen Du, Yaohui Nie, Bryan Diaz, ... Sandro Belvedere


Insulin treatment remains the sole effective intervention for Type 1 Diabetes. Here, we investigated the therapeutic potential of converting intestinal epithelial cells to insulin-producing, glucose-responsive β-like cells by targeted inhibition of FOXO1. We have previously shown that this can be achieved by genetic ablation in gut Neurogenin3 progenitors, adenoviral or shRNA-mediated inhibition in human gut organoids, and chemical inhibition in Akita mice, a model of insulin-deficient diabetes.


We profiled two novel FOXO1 inhibitors in reporter gene assays, and hepatocyte gene expression studies, and in vivo pyruvate tolerance test (PTT) for their activity and specificity. We evaluated their glucose-lowering effect in mice rendered insulin-deficient by administration of streptozotocin.


We provide evidence that two novel FOXO1 inhibitors, FBT432 and FBT374 have glucose-lowering and gut β-like cell-inducing properties in mice. FBT432 is also highly effective in combination with a Notch inhibitor in this model.


The data add to a growing body of evidence suggesting that FOXO1 inhibition be pursued as an alternative treatment to insulin administration in diabetes.