Dinucleoside polyphosphates exert their physiological effects via P2 receptors (P2Rs). They are attractive drug candidates, as they offer better stability and specificity compared to nucleotides, the most common P2 receptor ligands. The activation of pancreatic P2Y receptors by nucleotides increases insulin secretion. Therefore, in the current study, dinucleoside polyphosphate analogues (di-(2-MeS)-adenosine-5',5''-P(1),P(4),alpha,beta-methylene-tetraphosphate), 8, (di-(2-MeS)-adenosine-5',5''-P(1),P(4),beta,gamma-methylene-tetraphosphate), 9, and di-(2-MeS)-adenosine-5',5''-P(1),P(3),alpha,beta-methylene triphosphate, 10, were developed as potential insulin secretagogues. Analogues 8 and 9 were found to be agonists of the P2Y(1)R with EC(50) values of 0.42 and 0.46 microM, respectively, whereas analogue 10 had no activity. Analogues 8-10 were found to be completely resistant to hydrolysis by alkaline phosphatase over 3 h at 37 degrees C. Analogue 8 also was found to be 2.5-fold more stable in human blood serum than ATP, with a half-life of 12.1 h. Analogue 8 administration in rats caused a decrease in a blood glucose load from 155 mg/dL to ca. 100 mg/dL and increased blood insulin levels 4-fold as compared to basal levels. In addition, analogue 8 reduced a blood glucose load to normal values (80-110 mg/dL), unlike the commonly prescribed glibenclamide, which reduced glucose levels below normal values (60 mg/dL). These findings suggest that analogue 8 may prove to be an effective and safe treatment for type 2 diabetes.