Background: Sodium glucose co-transporter2 inhibitors reduce the incidence of cardiovascular events in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus based on the results of recent cardiovascular outcome studies. Herein, we investigated the efects of long-term treatment with canaglifozin on biochemical and immunohistochemical markers related to atherosclerosis and atherosclerosis development in the aorta of apolipoprotein E knockout (Apo-E(−/−) ) mice. Methods: At the age of 5 weeks, mice were switched from normal to a high-fat diet. After 5 weeks, Apo-E(−/−) mice were divided into control-group (6 mice) treated with 0.5% hydroxypropyl methylcellulose and Cana-group (7 mice) treated with canaglifozin (10 mg/kg per day) per os. After 5 weeks of intervention, animals were sacrifced, and heart and aorta were removed. Sections stained with hematoxylin–eosin (H&E) were used for histomorphometry whereas Masson’s stained tissues were used to quantify the collagen content. Immunohistochemistry to assess MCP-1, CD68, a-smooth muscle actin, MMP-2, MMP-9, TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 expression was carried out and q-PCR experiments were performed to quantify mRNA expression. Results: Canaglifozin-group mice had lower total-cholesterol, triglycerides and glucose levels (P<0.01), while heart rate was signifcantly lower (P<0.05). Histomorphometry revealed that one in seven Cana-group mice versus four in six control mice developed atheromatosis, while aortic root plaque was signifcantly less, and collagen was 1.6 times more intense in canaglifozin-group suggesting increased plaque stability. Immunohistochemistry revealed that MCP-1 was signifcantly less expressed (P<0.05) in the aortic root of canaglifozin-group while reduced expression of a-actin and CD68 was not reaching signifcance (P=0.15). VCAM-1 and MCP-1 mRNA levels were lower (P=0.02 and P=0.07, respectively), while TIMP-1/MMP-2 ratio expression was higher in canaglifozin-group approaching statistical signifcance (P=0.07). Conclusions: Canaglifozin attenuates the progression of atherosclerosis, reducing (1) hyperlipidemia and hyper‑ glycemia, and (2) infammatory process, by lowering the expression of infammatory molecules such as MCP-1 and VCAM-1. Moreover, canaglifozin was found to increase the atherosclerotic plaque stability via increasing TIMP-1/ MMP-2 ratio expression.
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