Preventing diabetic renal disease: the potential reno-protective effects of SGLT2 inhibitors


  • Giuseppe Maltese Cardiovascular Division, King’s College London, London, UK
  • Ahmad Abou-Saleh Cardiovascular Division, King’s College London, London, UK
  • Luigi Gnudi Cardiovascular Division, King’s College London, London, UK
  • Janaka Karalliedde Cardiovascular Division, King’s College London, London, UK



Diabetic renal disease is associated with increased cardiovascular risk and is one of the leading causes of end-stage renal disease worldwide. A combination of hyperglycaemia and hypertension drives the development and progression of diabetic renal disease, with glomerular hyperfiltration being an early manifestation of the disease process. Sodium- glucose linked transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors represent a novel class of drugs that lower plasma glucose levels through the inhibition of renal proximal tubular glucose uptake and secondary glycosuria.

Clinical evidence that SGLT2 inhibitors attenuate glomerular hyperfiltration is complemented by animal data suggesting that these agents can prevent progression of diabetic renal disease. In clinical studies involving patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes, SGLT2 inhibition reduces glomerular hyperfiltration and appears (albeit in post-hoc and pooled analyses) to reduce urinary albumin excretion. The longer term potential reno-protective effects of this class of drugs are currently under evaluation in large randomised clinical trials.


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