Comparison of the effects of empagliflozin and glimepiride on endothelial function in patients with type 2 diabetes: A randomized controlled study

PLoS One. 2022 Feb 16;17(2):e0262831. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0262831. eCollection 2022.


Patients with type 2 diabetes who have cardiovascular disease and are receiving empagliflozin have a lower rate of primary composite cardiovascular outcomes. In contrast, glimepiride increases cardiovascular hospitalization when combined with metformin. Here, we assessed the effects of empagliflozin and glimepiride on endothelial function using flow-mediated dilation (FMD). In this prospective, open-label, randomized, parallel-group study, 63 patients with type 2 diabetes received metformin and insulin glargine U100 for 12 weeks. This was followed by additional treatment with empagliflozin or glimepiride for 12 weeks. The primary outcome was the change in the FMD measurement (ΔFMDs) at 24 weeks of additional treatment. Secondary outcomes comprised changes in metabolic markers and body composition. The empagliflozin group (n = 33) and glimepiride group (n = 30) showed no significant differences in ΔFMDs (empagliflozin, -0.11 [95%CI: -1.02, 0.80]%; glimepiride, -0.34 [95%CI: -1.28, 0.60]%; P = 0.73). Additionally, changes in glycated hemoglobin were similar between the two groups. However, a significant difference in body weight change was observed (empagliflozin, -0.58 [95%CI: -1.60, 0.43] kg; glimepiride, 1.20 [95%CI: 0.15, 2.26] kg; P = 0.02). Moreover, a body composition analysis revealed that body fluid volume significantly decreased after empagliflozin treatment (baseline, 35.8 ± 6.8 L; after 12 weeks, -0.33 ± 0.72 L; P = 0.03). Hence, although empagliflozin did not improve endothelial function compared with glimepiride for patients with type 2 diabetes, it did decrease body fluid volumes. Thus, the coronary-protective effect of empagliflozin is not derived from endothelial function protection, but rather from heart failure risk reduction. Trial registration: This trial was registered on September 13, 2016; UMIN000024001.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Benzhydryl Compounds / therapeutic use*
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Body Weight
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Endothelium / physiology*
  • Female
  • Glucosides / therapeutic use*
  • Glycated Hemoglobin / analysis
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Sulfonylurea Compounds / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Blood Glucose
  • Glucosides
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Sulfonylurea Compounds
  • glimepiride
  • empagliflozin

Grant support

The authors received no specific funding for this work.