Recent large placebo-controlled trials of sodium glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors revealed desirable effects on heart failure (HF) and renal dysfunction; however, the mechanisms underlying these effects are unknown. The characteristic changes in the early stage of diabetic cardiomyopathy (DCM) are myocardial and interstitial fibrosis, resulting in diastolic and subsequent systolic dysfunction, which leads to clinical HF. Pericytes are considered to play crucial roles in myocardial and interstitial fibrosis. In both DCM and diabetic retinopathy (DR), microaneurysm formation and a decrease in capillaries occur, triggered by pericyte loss. Furthermore, tubulointerstitial fibrosis develops in early diabetic nephropathy (DN), in which pericytes and mesangial cells are thought to play important roles. Previous reports indicate that pericytes and mesangial cells play key roles in the pathogenesis of DCM, DR and DN. SGLT2 is reported to be functionally expressed in pericytes and mesangial cells, and excessive glucose and Na+ entry through SGLT2 causes cellular dysfunction in a diabetic state. Since SGLT2 inhibitors can attenuate the high glucose-induced dysfunction of pericytes and mesangial cells, the desirable effects of SGLT2 inhibitors on HF and renal dysfunction might be explained by their direct actions on these cells in the heart and kidney microvasculature.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Computer Science Applications
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry