Sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) plays a major role in renal glucose reabsorption. To analyze the potential of insulin-independent blood glucose control, the effects of the novel SGLT2 inhibitor canagliflozin on renal glucose absorption and the progression of hyperglycemia were analyzed in Zucker diabetic fatty (ZDF) rats. The transporter activity of recombinant human and rat SGLT2 was inhibited by canagliflozin, with 150-12,000-fold selectivity over other glucose transporters. Moreover, in vivo treatment with canagliflozin induced glucosuria in mice, rats, and dogs in a dose-dependent manner. It inhibited apparent glucose reabsorption by 55% in normoglycemic rats and by 94% in hyperglycemic rats. The inhibition of glucose reabsorption markedly reduced hyperglycemia in ZDF rats but did not induce hypoglycemia in normoglycemic animals. The change in urinary glucose excretion should not be used as a marker to predict the glycemic effects of this SGLT2 inhibitor. In ZDF rats, plasma glucose and HbA1c levels progressively increased with age, and pancreatic β-cell failure developed at 13 weeks of age. Treatment with canagliflozin for 8 weeks from the prediabetic stage suppressed the progression of hyperglycemia, prevented the decrease in plasma insulin levels, increased pancreatic insulin contents, and minimized the deterioration of islet structure. These results indicate that selective inhibition of SGLT2 with canagliflozin controls the progression of hyperglycemia by inhibiting renal glucose reabsorption in ZDF rats. In addition, the preservation of β-cell function suggests that canagliflozin treatment reduces glucose toxicity via an insulin-independent mechanism.
- The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics