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Empagliflozin Increases Cardiac Energy Production in Diabetes

Subodh Verma, Sonia Rawat, Kim L. Ho, Cory S. Wagg, Liyan Zhang, Hwee Teoh, John E. Dyck, Golam M. Uddin, Gavin Y. Oudit, Eric Mayoux, Michael Lehrke, Nikolaus Marx, Gary D. Lopaschuk
JACC: Basic to Translational Science2018
SGLT2 inhibitors have profound benefits on reducing heart failure and cardiovascular mortality in individuals with type 2 diabetes, although the mechanism(s) of this benefit remain poorly understood. Because changes in cardiac bioenergetics play a critical role in the pathophysiology of heart failure, the authors evaluated cardiac energy production and substrate use in diabetic mice treated with the SGTL2 inhibitor, empagliflozin. Empagliflozin treatment of diabetic db/db mice prevented the development of cardiac failure. Glycolysis, and the oxidation of glucose, fatty acids and ketones were measured in the isolated working heart perfused with 5 mmol/l glucose, 0.8 mmol/l palmitate, 0.5 mmol/l ß-hydroxybutyrate (ßOHB), and 500 μU/ml insulin. In vehicle-treated db/db mice, cardiac glucose oxidation rates were decreased by 61%, compared with control mice, but only by 43% in empagliflozin-treated diabetic mice. Interestingly, cardiac ketone oxidation rates in db/db mice decreased to 45% of the rates seen in control mice, whereas a similar decrease (43%) was seen in empagliflozin-treated db/db mice. Overall cardiac adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production rates decreased by 36% in db/db vehicle-treated hearts compared with control mice, with fatty acid oxidation providing 42%, glucose oxidation 26%, ketone oxidation 10%, and glycolysis 22% of ATP production in db/db mouse hearts. In empagliflozin-treated db/db mice, cardiac ATP production rates increased by 31% compared with db/db vehicle-treated mice, primarily due to a 61% increase in the contribution of glucose oxidation to energy production. Cardiac efficiency (cardiac work/O2 consumed) decreased by 28% in db/db vehicle-treated hearts, compared with control hearts, and empagliflozin did not increase cardiac efficiency per se. Because ketone oxidation was impaired in db/db mouse hearts, the authors determined whether this contributed to the decrease in cardiac efficiency seen in the db/db mouse hearts. Addition of 600 μmol/l ßOHB to db/db mouse hearts perfused with 5 mmol/l glucose, 0.8 mmol/l palmitate, and 100 μU/ml insulin increased ketone oxidation rates, but did not decrease either glucose oxidation or fatty acid oxidation rates. The presence of ketones did not increase cardiac efficiency, but did increase ATP production rates, due to the additional contribution of ketone oxidation to energy production. The authors conclude that empagliflozin treatment is associated with an increase in ATP production, resulting in an enhanced energy status of the heart.
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