Effectiveness of dapagliflozin on vascular endothelial function and glycemic control in patients with early-stage type 2 diabetes mellitus: DEFENCE study

Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2017 Jul 6;16(1):84. doi: 10.1186/s12933-017-0564-0.


Background: Recent studies reported that sodium glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors can potentially reduce the risk of cardiovascular mortality in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). However, there is little or no information on the therapeutic effects of SGLT2 inhibitors on the progression of atherosclerosis. This dapagliflozin effectiveness on vascular endothelial function and glycemic control (DEFENCE) study was designed to determine the effects of dapagliflozin, a SGLT2 inhibitor, on endothelial function in patients with early-stage T2DM.

Methods: DEFENCE is a prospective, randomized, open-label, blinded-endpoint, parallel-group, comparative clinical trial. Between October 2015 and August 2016, 80 T2DM patients treated with 750 mg of metformin (hemoglobin A1c ≥6.0 and <8.0%, n = 80) were enrolled and randomized to receive either 1500 mg/day metformin (the metformin group, n = 40), or 750 mg/day metformin supplemented with 5 mg/day dapagliflozin (the dapagliflozin group, n = 40), for 16 weeks. The primary endpoint was a change in flow-mediated dilation (FMD) from baseline to the end of the 16-week treatment period. The secondary outcomes include changes in indexes of glycemic control, lipid metabolism, and oxidative stress, body composition, and safety evaluation.

Results: Although FMD tended to improve only in the dapagliflozin group, ΔFMD was comparable between the two groups. Analysis of patients with HbA1c >7.0% showed significant improvement of FMD in the dapagliflozin group than metformin group (P < 0.05). HbA1c, fasting plasma glucose, plasma glucagon, and body weight significantly decreased in both groups. Interestingly, urine 8-hydroxy-2'-deoxyguanosin, a biomarker of oxidative stress, was significantly lower in the dapagliflozin group than metformin group at 16 weeks (P < 0.001).

Conclusions: Dapagliflozin add-on therapy to metformin for 16 weeks improved endothelial function, as assessed by FMD, in patients with inadequately controlled early-stage T2DM. Improvement in oxidative stress may contribute to the improvement in FMD. Trial registration University Hospital Medical Information Network Clinical Trial Registry (UMIN000018754).

Keywords: Dapagliflozin; Endothelial function; Type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Benzhydryl Compounds / therapeutic use*
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination / methods
  • Endothelium / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Glucosides / therapeutic use*
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / analysis
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • 2-(3-(4-ethoxybenzyl)-4-chlorophenyl)-6-hydroxymethyltetrahydro-2H-pyran-3,4,5-triol
  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Blood Glucose
  • Glucosides
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Hypoglycemic Agents