Glycemic control by the SGLT2 inhibitor empagliflozin decreases aortic stiffness, renal resistivity index and kidney injury

Annayya R. Aroor, Nitin A. Das, Andrea J. Carpenter, Javad Habibi, Guanghong Jia, Francisco I. Ramirez-Perez, Luis Martinez-Lemus, Camila M. Manrique-Acevedo, Melvin R. Hayden, Cornel Duta, Ravi Nistala, Eric Mayoux, Jaume Padilla, Bysani Chandrasekar, Vincent G. DeMarco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Scopus citations


Background: Arterial stiffness is emerging as an independent risk factor for the development of chronic kidney disease. The sodium glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors, which lower serum glucose by inhibiting SGLT2-mediated glucose reabsorption in renal proximal tubules, have shown promise in reducing arterial stiffness and the risk of cardiovascular and kidney disease in individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Since hyperglycemia contributes to arterial stiffness, we hypothesized that the SGLT2 inhibitor empagliflozin (EMPA) would improve endothelial function, reduce aortic stiffness, and attenuate kidney disease by lowering hyperglycemia in type 2 diabetic female mice (db/db). Materials/methods: Ten-week-old female wild-type control (C57BLKS/J) and db/db (BKS.Cg-Dock7m+/+Leprdb/J) mice were divided into three groups: lean untreated controls (CkC, n=17), untreated db/db (DbC, n=19) and EMPA-treated db/db mice (DbE, n=19). EMPA was mixed with normal mouse chow at a concentration to deliver 10mgkg-1day-1, and fed for 5weeks, initiated at 11weeks of age. Results: Compared to CkC, DbC showed increased glucose levels, blood pressure, aortic and endothelial cell stiffness, and impaired endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation. Furthermore, DbC exhibited impaired activation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase, increased renal resistivity and pulsatility indexes, enhanced renal expression of advanced glycation end products, and periarterial and tubulointerstitial fibrosis. EMPA promoted glycosuria and blunted these vascular and renal impairments, without affecting increases in blood pressure. In addition, expression of "reversion inducing cysteine rich protein with Kazal motifs" (RECK), an anti-fibrotic mediator, was significantly suppressed in DbC kidneys and partially restored by EMPA. Confirming the in vivo data, EMPA reversed high glucose-induced RECK suppression in human proximal tubule cells. Conclusions: Empagliflozin ameliorates kidney injury in type 2 diabetic female mice by promoting glycosuria, and possibly by reducing systemic and renal artery stiffness, and reversing RECK suppression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number108
JournalCardiovascular Diabetology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 30 2018


  • Pulsatility index
  • RECK
  • Renal resistivity
  • SGLT2
  • Vascular stiffness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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