Background: Recent large-scale clinical studies demonstrate that sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors protect the diabetic kidney. However, clinical and animal studies have not shown the changes of the total glomeruli in the whole kidney treated with SGLT2 inhibitors. Methods: We performed computed tomography (CT) imaging on mice using synchrotron radiation to investigate the impact of luseogliflozin, a SGLT2 inhibitor, on the number and volume of glomeruli in the whole kidney. Findings: We did not observe a significant difference in the total glomerular number (Nglom) among mice. Luseogliflozin redistributed the number of glomeruli in different regions, accompanied by the normalization of diabetes-augmented renal volume (Vkidney). Diabetic db/db mice had a larger glomerular volume in the mid-cortex than did control db/m mice, and luseogliflozin increased the glomerular volume in all renal cortical zones of the whole kidney in db/db mice. According to the multivariate regression analysis, hemoglobin A1c level was the most relevant determinant of Vkidney, not Nglom or mean glomerular volume (Vglom), indicating that hyperglycemia induced renal (tubular) hypertrophy, but not glomerular enlargement. Luseogliflozin increased hypoxia in the juxtamedullary region, sustained upregulated renal renin expression and plasma renin activity, and failed to decrease albuminuria by downregulating megalin in db/db mice. Interpretation: Based on our findings, SGLT2 inhibitors may alter glomerular distribution and size in addition to their glucose-lowering effects, presumably by affecting oxygen metabolism and humoral factors. Fund: Funding for this research was provided by The Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, the Japan Diabetes Foundation, and Asahikawa Medical University.
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