The sodium-glucose co-transporters (SGLTs) are responsible for the tubular reabsorption of filtered glucose from the kidney into the bloodstream. The inhibition of SGLT2-mediated glucose reabsorption is a novel and highly effective strategy to alleviate hyperglycaemia in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). However, the effectiveness of SGLT2 inhibitor therapy is diminished due, in part, to a compensatory increase in the maximum reabsorptive capacity (Tm) for glucose in patients with T2DM. We hypothesized that this increase in Tm could be explained by an increase in the tubular expression of SGLT and glucose transporters (GLUT) in these patients. To examine this, we obtained human kidney biopsy specimens from patients with or without T2DM and examined the mRNA expression of SGLTs and GLUTs. The expression of SGLT1 is markedly increased in the kidney of patients with T2DM, and SGLT1 mRNA is highly and significantly correlated with fasting and postprandial plasma glucose and HbA1c. In contrast, our data demonstrate that the levels of SGLT2 and GLUT2 mRNA are downregulated in diabetic patients, but not to a statistically significant level. These important findings are clinically significant and may have implications for the treatment of T2DM using strategies that target SGLT transporters in the kidney.
- glucose transporters (GLUT)
- sodium-glucose co-transporters (SGLT)
- type 2 diabetes