Increase in SGLT1-mediated transport explains renal glucose reabsorption during genetic and pharmacological SGLT2 inhibition in euglycemia

Am J Physiol Renal Physiol. 2014 Jan;306(2):F188-93. doi: 10.1152/ajprenal.00518.2013. Epub 2013 Nov 13.


In the kidney, the sodium-glucose cotransporters SGLT2 and SGLT1 are thought to account for >90 and ∼3% of fractional glucose reabsorption (FGR), respectively. However, euglycemic humans treated with an SGLT2 inhibitor maintain an FGR of 40-50%, mimicking values in Sglt2 knockout mice. Here, we show that oral gavage with a selective SGLT2 inhibitor (SGLT2-I) dose dependently increased urinary glucose excretion (UGE) in wild-type (WT) mice. The dose-response curve was shifted leftward and the maximum response doubled in Sglt1 knockout (Sglt1-/-) mice. Treatment in diet with the SGLT2-I for 3 wk maintained 1.5- to 2-fold higher urine glucose/creatinine ratios in Sglt1-/- vs. WT mice, associated with a temporarily greater reduction in blood glucose in Sglt1-/- vs. WT after 24 h (-33 vs. -11%). Subsequent inulin clearance studies under anesthesia revealed free plasma concentrations of the SGLT2-I (corresponding to early proximal concentration) close to the reported IC50 for SGLT2 in mice, which were associated with FGR of 64 ± 2% in WT and 17 ± 2% in Sglt1-/-. Additional intraperitoneal application of the SGLT2-I (maximum effective dose in metabolic cages) increased free plasma concentrations ∼10-fold and reduced FGR to 44 ± 3% in WT and to -1 ± 3% in Sglt1-/-. The absence of renal glucose reabsorption was confirmed in male and female Sglt1/Sglt2 double knockout mice. In conclusion, SGLT2 and SGLT1 account for renal glucose reabsorption in euglycemia, with 97 and 3% being reabsorbed by SGLT2 and SGLT1, respectively. When SGLT2 is fully inhibited by SGLT2-I, the increase in SGLT1-mediated glucose reabsorption explains why only 50-60% of filtered glucose is excreted.

Keywords: diabetes mellitus; glucose reabsorption; glucose transport; proximal tubule; sodium glucose cotransport inhibitor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Benzhydryl Compounds / pharmacology
  • Biological Transport, Active / physiology
  • Blood Glucose / physiology
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drinking / physiology
  • Eating / physiology
  • Female
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Glucosides / pharmacology
  • Glycosuria / metabolism
  • Kidney / metabolism*
  • Kidney Tubules, Proximal / drug effects
  • Kidney Tubules, Proximal / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 1 / genetics
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 1 / physiology*
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 2 / genetics*
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 2 Inhibitors*
  • Urodynamics / drug effects
  • Urodynamics / genetics


  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Blood Glucose
  • Glucosides
  • Slc5a1 protein, mouse
  • Slc5a2 protein, mouse
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 1
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 2
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 2 Inhibitors
  • empagliflozin
  • Glucose