Current therapies to reduce hyperglycaemia in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) mostly involve insulin-dependent mechanisms and lose their effectiveness as pancreatic ß-cell function declines. In the kidney, filtered glucose is reabsorbed mainly via the high-capacity, low-affinity sodium glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) at the luminal surface of cells lining the first segment of the proximal tubules. Selective inhibitors of SGLT2 reduce glucose reabsorption, causing excess glucose to be eliminated in the urine; this decreases plasma glucose. In T2DM, the glucosuria produced by SGLT2 inhibitors is associated with weight loss, and mild osmotic diuresis might assist a reduction in blood pressure. The mechanism is independent of insulin and carries a low risk of hypoglycaemia. This review examines the potential of SGLT2 inhibitors as a novel approach to the treatment of hyperglycaemia in T2DM.
- type 2 diabetes mellitus
- hypoglycemic agents
- membrane transport modulators
- sodium-glucose transporter 2