Aim: To evaluate the impact of the sodium glucose co-transporter 2 inhibitor canagliflozin on intrahepatic triglyceride (IHTG) accumulation and its relationship to changes in body weight and glucose metabolism.
Materials and methods: In this double-blind, parallel-group, placebo-controlled, 24-week trial subjects with inadequately controlled type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM; HbA1c = 7.7% ± 0.7%) from two centres were randomly assigned (1:1) to canagliflozin 300 mg or placebo. We measured IHTG by proton-magnetic resonance spectroscopy (primary outcome), hepatic/muscle/adipose tissue insulin sensitivity during a 2-step euglycaemic insulin clamp, and beta-cell function during a mixed meal tolerance test. Analyses were per protocol.
Results: Between 8 September 2014-13 June 2016, 56 patients were enrolled. Canagliflozin reduced HbA1c (placebo-subtracted change: -0.71% [-1.08; -0.33]) and body weight (-3.4% [-5.4; -1.4]; both P ≤ 0.001). A numerically larger absolute decrease in IHTG occurred with canagliflozin (-4.6% [-6.4; -2.7]) versus placebo (-2.4% [-4.2; -0.6]; P = 0.09). In patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (n = 37), the decrease in IHTG was -6.9% (-9.5; -4.2) versus -3.8% (-6.3; -1.3; P = 0.05), and strongly correlated with the magnitude of weight loss (r = 0.69, P < 0.001). Body weight loss ≥5% with a ≥30% relative reduction in IHTG occurred more often with canagliflozin (38% vs. 7%, P = 0.009). Hepatic insulin sensitivity improved with canagliflozin (P < 0.01), but not muscle or adipose tissue insulin sensitivity. Beta-cell glucose sensitivity, insulin clearance, and disposition index improved more with canagliflozin (P < 0.05).
Conclusions: Canagliflozin improves hepatic insulin sensitivity and insulin secretion and clearance in patients with T2DM. IHTG decreases in proportion to the magnitude of body weight loss, which tended to be greater and occur more often with canagliflozin.
Keywords: canagliflozin; fatty; insulin resistance; insulin secretion; liver; randomized trial.
© 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.