Background: SGLT2i (sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitor), a class of anti-diabetic medications, is shown to reduce blood pressure (BP) in hypertensive patients with type 2 diabetes. Mechanisms underlying this action are unknown but SGLT2i-induced sympathoinhibition is thought to play a role. Whether SGLT2i reduces BP and sympathetic nerve activity (SNA) in a nondiabetic prehypertension model is unknown.
Methods: Accordingly, we assessed changes in conscious BP using radiotelemetry and alterations in mean arterial pressure and renal SNA during simulated exercise in nondiabetic spontaneously hypertensive rats during chronic administration of a diet containing dapagliflozin (0.5 mg/kg per day) versus a control diet.
Results: We found that dapagliflozin had no effect on fasting blood glucose, insulin, or hemoglobin A1C levels. However, dapagliflozin reduced BP in young (8-week old) spontaneously hypertensive rats as well as attenuated the age-related rise in BP in adult spontaneously hypertensive rat up to 17-weeks of age. The rises in mean arterial pressure and renal SNA during simulated exercise (exercise pressor reflex activation by hindlimb muscle contraction) were significantly reduced after 4 weeks of dapagliflozin (Δmean arterial pressure: 10±7 versus 25±14 mm Hg, Δrenal SNA: 31±17% versus 68±39%, P<0.05). Similarly, rises in mean arterial pressure and renal SNA during mechanoreflex stimulation by passive hindlimb stretching were also attenuated by dapagliflozin. Heart weight was significantly decreased in dapagliflozin compared with the control group.
Conclusions: These data demonstrate a novel role for SGLT2i in reducing resting BP as well as the activity of skeletal muscle reflexes, independent of glycemic control. Our study may have important clinical implications for preventing hypertension and hypertensive heart disease in young prehypertensive individuals.
Keywords: arterial pressure; blood pressure; heart rate; hypertension; prehypertension.