Background: SGLT2 inhibitors (iSGLT2) such as empagliflozin can reduce cardiovascular risk in patients with type 2 diabetes, but the underlying molecular mechanisms are yet to be determined. In the present study we evaluate the effects of empagliflozin on anthropometric and endocrine parameters, leukocyte-endothelium interactions, adhesion molecules and NFkB-p65 transcription factor expression.
Methods: Eighteen patients with type 2 diabetes were recruited for the study. Patients received 10 mg/day of empagliflozin according to standard clinical protocols and were followed-up during a 24-week period. Anthropometric and analytical measurements were performed at baseline, 12-weeks and 24-weeks. Interactions between polymorphonuclear leukocytes and human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs), serum levels of adhesion molecules (P-selectin, VCAM-1 and ICAM-1) and NFkB-p65 protein levels were measured.
Results: We observed a decrease in body weight, BMI and HbA1C levels from 12 weeks of treatment, which had become more pronounced at 24 weeks and was accompanied by a significant reduction in waist circumference, glucose, and hs-CRP levels. Leukocyte-endothelium interactions were reduced due to an enhancement of leukocyte rolling velocity from 12 weeks onwards, together with a significant decrease in leukocyte rolling flux and adhesion at 24 weeks. Accordingly, a significant decrease in ICAM-1 levels and NFkB-p65 expression were observed.
Conclusions: Empagliflozin reduced leukocyte-endothelium interactions, adhesion molecules and NFkB-p65 expression in type 2 diabetic patients after 24 weeks of treatment.