Context: Dapagliflozin and other SGLT2 inhibitors are known to increase hematocrit, possibly due to its diuretic effects and hemoconcentration.
Objective: Since type 2 diabetes is a proinflammatory state and since hepcidin, a known suppressor of erythropoiesis, is increased in proinflammatory states, we investigated the possibility that dapagliflozin suppresses hepcidin concentrations and thus increases erythropoiesis.
Design: Prospective, randomized, and placebo-controlled study.
Setting: Single endocrinology center.
Patients: Fifty-two obese type 2 diabetes patients.
Intervention: Patients were randomized (1:1) to either dapagliflozin (10 mg daily) or placebo for 12 weeks. Blood samples were collected before and after treatments and serum, plasma, and mononuclear cells (MNC) were prepared.
Main outcome measure: Hepcidin and other hematopoietic factors.
Results: Following dapagliflozin treatment, there was a significant fall in HbA1c and a significant increase in hemoglobin concentration and hematocrit. Dapagliflozin treatment significantly reduced circulating hepcidin and ferritin concentrations while causing a significant increase in levels of the hepcidin inhibitor, erythroferrone, and a transient increase in erythropoietin. Additionally, dapagliflozin increased plasma transferrin levels and expression of transferrin receptors 1 and 2 in MNC, while there was no change in the expression of the iron cellular transporter, ferroportin. Dapagliflozin treatment also caused a decrease in hypoxia-induced factor-1α expression in MNC while it increased the expression of its inhibitor, prolyl hydroxylase-2. There were no significant changes in any of these indices in the placebo group.
Conclusions: We conclude that dapagliflozin increases erythropoiesis and hematocrit through mechanisms that involve the suppression of hepcidin and the modulation of other iron regulatory proteins.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT02433678.
Keywords: dapagliflozin; erythropoiesis; hepcidin; iron.
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