Direct cardiac effects of SGLT2 inhibitors

Cardiovasc Diabetol. 2022 Mar 18;21(1):45. doi: 10.1186/s12933-022-01480-1.


Sodium-glucose-cotransporter 2 inhibitors (SGLT2is) demonstrate large cardiovascular benefit in both diabetic and non-diabetic, acute and chronic heart failure patients. These inhibitors have on-target (SGLT2 inhibition in the kidney) and off-target effects that likely both contribute to the reported cardiovascular benefit. Here we review the literature on direct effects of SGLT2is on various cardiac cells and derive at an unifying working hypothesis. SGLT2is acutely and directly (1) inhibit cardiac sodium transporters and alter ion homeostasis, (2) reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, (3) influence metabolism, and (4) improve cardiac function. We postulate that cardiac benefit modulated by SGLT2i's can be commonly attributed to their inhibition of sodium-loaders in the plasma membrane (NHE-1, Nav1.5, SGLT) affecting intracellular sodium-homeostasis (the sodium-interactome), thereby providing a unifying view on the various effects reported in separate studies. The SGLT2is effects are most apparent when cells or hearts are subjected to pathological conditions (reactive oxygen species, inflammation, acidosis, hypoxia, high saturated fatty acids, hypertension, hyperglycemia, and heart failure sympathetic stimulation) that are known to prime these plasmalemmal sodium-loaders. In conclusion, the cardiac sodium-interactome provides a unifying testable working hypothesis and a possible, at least partly, explanation to the clinical benefits of SGLT2is observed in the diseased patient.

Keywords: Cardiac function; Inflammation; Ion homeostasis; Metabolism; Oxidative stress; Sodium-glucose-cotransporter 2 inhibitors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Benzhydryl Compounds / pharmacology
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / diagnosis
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / drug therapy
  • Glucosides / pharmacology
  • Heart Failure* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Sodium / metabolism
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 2 Inhibitors* / adverse effects


  • Benzhydryl Compounds
  • Glucosides
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 2 Inhibitors
  • Sodium