Posts Tagged ‘glucosuria’

Overview of New Strategy for Treatment of T2DM: SGLT2 Inhibiting Oral Antidiabetic Agents


Author and Curator: Aviral Vatsa, PhD, MBBS

Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a chronic disease, which is affecting widespread populations in epidemic proportions across the globe 1. It is characterised by hyperglycemia, which if not controlled adequately, eventually leads to microvascular and metabolic complications (Fig 1). Traditionally, T2DM management includes alteration in lifestyle, oral hypoglycemic agents and/or insulin. The present pharmacological approaches predominantly target glucose metabolism by compensating for reduction in insulin secretion and/or insulin action. However, these approaches are often limited by inadequate glucose control and the the possibility of severe adverse effects such as hypoglycemia, weight gain, nausea, and sometimes lactic acidosis 2–4 (Fig 1). Hence the search for new drugs with different mechanism of action and with little side affects is key in providing better glycemic control in T2DM patients and hence offering better prognosis with reduced morbidity and mortality.

Figure 1 (credit: aviral vatsa): Short overview of Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM): complications, present therapeutic approaches and their limitations.

Along with pancreas, our kidneys play a vital role in regulating glucose levels in the plasma. Under physiological conditions, kidneys absorb 99% of the plasma glucose filtered through the renal glomeruli tubules. Majority i.e. 80-90% of this renal glucose resorbtion is mediated via the sodium glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) 5,6. SGLT2 is a high-capacity low-affinity transporter that is mainly located in the proximal segment S1 of the proximal convoluted tubule 6. Inhibition of SGLT2 activity can thus induce glucosuria which inturn can lower blood glucose levels without targeting insulin resistance and insulin secretion pathways of glucose modulation (Fig 2).

Figure 2 (credit: aviral vatsa): Schematic overview of regulation of plasma glucose by sodium glucose co-transporter (SGLT).

Thus inhibition of SGLT2 provides a novel way to modulate blood glucose levels and consequently limit long term complications of hyperglycemia 7,8. Moreover, SGLT2 inhibitors will selectively target the renal glucose transportation and spare the counter regulatory hormones involved in glucose metabolism because SGLT2 is almost exclusively located in the kidneys. This novel way of glucose modulation will likely avoid severe side affects, e.g. hypoglycemia and weight gain, that are seen with present antidiabetic pharmacological agents.

Agents currently under development

Table below gives an overview of the SGLT2 inhibotors in development.

(Credit: Chao et al 2010)


In summary, increasing urinary glucose excretion represents a new approach to addressing the challenge of hyperglycaemia. SGLT2 inhibitors may have indications both in the prevention and treatment of T2DM, and perhaps T1DM, with a possible application in obesity. Further studies in large numbers of human subjects are necessary to delineate efficacy, safety and how to most effectively use these agents in the treatment of diabetes.


  1. Diabetes Atlas. International Diabetes Federation, (2009) at <>
  2. Intensive blood-glucose control with sulphonylureas or insulin compared with conventional treatment and risk of complications in patients with type 2 diabetes (UKPDS 33). UK Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS) Group. Lancet 352, 837–853 (1998).
  3. Buse, J. B. et al. Effects of exenatide (exendin-4) on glycemic control over 30 weeks in sulfonylurea-treated patients with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care 27, 2628–2635 (2004).
  4. Inzucchi, S. E. Oral antihyperglycemic therapy for type 2 diabetes: scientific review. JAMA 287, 360–372 (2002).
  5. Brown, G. K. Glucose transporters: Structure, function and consequences of deficiency. Journal of Inherited Metabolic Disease 23, 237–246 (2000).
  6. Wright, E. M. Renal Na+-glucose cotransporters. Am J Physiol Renal Physiol 280, F10–F18 (2001).
  7. Chao, E. C. & Henry, R. R. SGLT2 inhibition — a novel strategy for diabetes treatment. Nature Reviews Drug Discovery 9, 551–559 (2010).
  8. Ferrannini, E. & Solini, A. SGLT2 inhibition in diabetes mellitus: rationale and clinical prospects. Nature Reviews Endocrinology 8, 495–502 (2012).



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