Empagliflozin, a selective sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitor, has been shown to reduce mortality and hospitalization for heart failure in diabetic patients in the EMPA-REG-OUTCOME trial (Zinman et al., 2015). Surprisingly, dapagliflozin, another SGLT2 inhibitor, exerted comparable effects on clinical endpoints even in the absence of diabetes mellitus (DAPA-HF trial) (McMurray et al., 2019). There is a myriad of suggested underlying mechanisms ranging from improved glycemic control and hemodynamic effects to altered myocardial metabolism, inflammation, neurohumoral activation and intracellular ion homeostasis. Here, we review the effects of gliflozins on cardiac electro-mechanical coupling with an emphasis on novel CaMKII-mediated pathways and on cardiac glucose and ketone metabolism in the failing heart. We focus on empagliflozin as it is the gliflozin with the most abundant experimental evidence for direct effects on the heart. Where useful, we aim to compare empagliflozin to other gliflozins. To facilitate understanding of empagliflozin-induced alterations, we first give a short summary of the pathophysiological role of CaMKII in heart failure, as well as cardiac changes of glucose and ketone body metabolism in the failing heart.
Keywords: CaMKII; Cardiac metabolism; Empagliflozin; GLUT1; Heart failure; SGLT2 inhibitor.
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