Sodium glucose cotransporter 2 inhibition in the diabetic kidney: an update

Aleksandra Novikov, Volker Vallon
Current Opinion in Nephrology and Hypertension 2016, 25 (1): 50-8

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The sodium glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) reabsorbs most of the glucose filtered by the kidneys. SGLT2 inhibitors reduce glucose reabsorption, thereby lowering blood glucose levels, and have been approved as new antihyperglycemic drugs. Although the therapeutic strategy is very promising, many questions remain.

RECENT FINDINGS: Using validated antibodies, SGLT2 expression was localized to the brush border of the early proximal tubule in the human kidney and was found upregulated in genetic murine models of type 1 and 2 diabetes. SGLT2 may functionally interact with the Na/H exchanger NHE3 in the proximal tubule. SGLT1-mediated reabsorption explains the fractional renal glucose reabsorption of 40-50% during SGLT2 inhibition. SGLT2 is expressed on pancreatic alfa cells where its inhibition induces glucagon secretion. SGLT2 inhibition lowers glomerular filtration rate in hyperfiltering diabetic patients consistent with the tubular hypothesis of diabetic hyperfiltration. New data indicate a potential of SGLT2 inhibition for renal medullary hypoxia and ketoacidosis, but also for blood glucose effect-dependent and independent nephroprotective actions, renal gluconeogenesis inhibition, reduction in cardiovascular mortality, and cancer therapy.

SUMMARY: The findings expand and refine our understanding of SGLT2 and its inhibition, have relevance for clinical practice, and will help interpret ongoing clinical trials on the long-term safety and cardiovascular effects of SGLT2 inhibitors.

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