The role of empagliflozin-induced metabolic changes for cardiac function in patients with type 2 diabetes. A randomized cross-over magnetic resonance imaging study with insulin as comparator

Roopameera Thirumathyam, Erik Arne Richter, Gerrit van Hall, Jens Juul Holst, Mogens Fenger, Jens P Gøtze, Ulrik Dixen, Niels Vejlstrup, Sten Madsbad, Per Lav Madsen, Nils Bruun Jørgensen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Metabolic effects of empagliflozin treatment include lowered glucose and insulin concentrations, elevated free fatty acids and ketone bodies and have been suggested to contribute to the cardiovascular benefits of empagliflozin treatment, possibly through an improved cardiac function. We aimed to evaluate the influence of these metabolic changes on cardiac function in patients with T2D.

METHODS: In a randomized cross-over design, the SGLT2 inhibitor empagliflozin (E) was compared with insulin (I) treatment titrated to the same level of glycemic control in 17 patients with type 2 diabetes, BMI of > 28 kg/m2, C-peptide > 500 pM. Treatments lasted 5 weeks and were preceded by 3-week washouts (WO). At the end of treatments and washouts, cardiac diastolic function was determined with magnetic resonance imaging from left ventricle early peak-filling rate and left atrial passive emptying fraction (primary and key secondary endpoints); systolic function from left ventricle ejection fraction (secondary endpoint). Coupling between cardiac function and fatty acid concentrations, was studied on a separate day with a second scan after reduction of plasma fatty acids with acipimox. Data are Mean ± standard error. Between treatment difference (ΔT: E-I) and treatments effects (ΔE: E-WO or ΔI: I -WO) were evaluated using Students' t-test or Wilcoxon signed rank test as appropriate.

RESULTS: Glucose concentrations were similar, fatty acids, ketone bodies and lipid oxidation increased while insulin concentrations decreased on empagliflozin compared with insulin treatment. Cardiac diastolic and systolic function were unchanged by either treatment. Acipimox decreased fatty acids with 35% at all visits, and this led to reduced cardiac diastolic (ΔT: -51 ± 22 ml/s (p < 0.05); ΔE: -33 ± 26 ml/s (ns); ΔI: 37 ± 26 (ns, p < 0.05 vs ΔE)) and systolic function (ΔT: -3 ± 1% (p < 0.05); ΔE: -3 ± 1% (p < 0.05): ΔI: 1 ± 2 (ns, ns vs ΔE)) under chronotropic stress during empagliflozin compared to insulin treatment.

CONCLUSIONS: Despite significant metabolic differences, cardiac function did not differ on empagliflozin compared with insulin treatment. Impaired cardiac function during acipimox treatment, could suggest greater cardiac reliance on lipid metabolism for proper function during empagliflozin treatment in patients with type 2 diabetes.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: EudraCT 2017-002101-35, August 2017.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13
JournalCardiovascular Diabetology
Volume23
Issue number1
ISSN1475-2840
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jan 2024

Keywords

  • Humans
  • Insulin
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2/diagnosis
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Glucose
  • Atrial Appendage
  • Fatty Acids
  • Ketone Bodies

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