Sodium-coupled glucose transport, the SLC5 family, and therapeutically relevant inhibitors: from molecular discovery to clinical application.

Gyimesi, Gergely; Pujol-Gimenez, Jonai; Kanai, Yoshikatsu; Hediger, Matthias A. (2020). Sodium-coupled glucose transport, the SLC5 family, and therapeutically relevant inhibitors: from molecular discovery to clinical application. Pflügers Archiv : European journal of physiology, 472(9), pp. 1177-1206. Springer 10.1007/s00424-020-02433-x

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Sodium glucose transporters (SGLTs) belong to the mammalian solute carrier family SLC5. This family includes 12 different members in human that mediate the transport of sugars, vitamins, amino acids, or smaller organic ions such as choline. The SLC5 family belongs to the sodium symporter family (SSS), which encompasses transporters from all kingdoms of life. It furthermore shares similarity to the structural fold of the APC (amino acid-polyamine-organocation) transporter family. Three decades after the first molecular identification of the intestinal Na+-glucose cotransporter SGLT1 by expression cloning, many new discoveries have evolved, from mechanistic analysis to molecular genetics, structural biology, drug discovery, and clinical applications. All of these advances have greatly influenced physiology and medicine. While SGLT1 is essential for fast absorption of glucose and galactose in the intestine, the expression of SGLT2 is largely confined to the early part of the kidney proximal tubules, where it reabsorbs the bulk part of filtered glucose. SGLT2 has been successfully exploited by the pharmaceutical industry to develop effective new drugs for the treatment of diabetic patients. These SGLT2 inhibitors, termed gliflozins, also exhibit favorable nephroprotective effects and likely also cardioprotective effects. In addition, given the recent finding that SGLT2 is also expressed in tumors of pancreas and prostate and in glioblastoma, this opens the door to potential new therapeutic strategies for cancer treatment by specifically targeting SGLT2. Likewise, further discoveries related to the functional association of other SGLTs of the SLC5 family to human pathologies will open the door to potential new therapeutic strategies. We furthermore hope that the herein summarized information about the physiological roles of SGLTs and the therapeutic benefits of the gliflozins will be useful for our readers to better understand the molecular basis of the beneficial effects of these inhibitors, also in the context of the tubuloglomerular feedback (TGF), and the renin-angiotensin system (RAS). The detailed mechanisms underlying the clinical benefits of SGLT2 inhibition by gliflozins still warrant further investigation that may serve as a basis for future drug development.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Dermatology, Urology, Rheumatology, Nephrology, Osteoporosis (DURN) > Clinic of Nephrology and Hypertension
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > BioMedical Research (DBMR) > Unit Childrens Hospital > Forschungsgruppe Nephrologie / Hypertonie

UniBE Contributor:

Gyimesi, Gergely; Pujol Gimenez, Jonai and Hediger, Matthias


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology








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Date Deposited:

05 Jan 2021 14:10

Last Modified:

05 Jan 2021 14:20

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PubMed ID:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

Cancer Diabetes Drug delivery Gliflozins Glucose transport Molecular docking Nephroprotective Renin-angiotensin system SGLT1 SGLT2 SGLT2 inhibitors SLC5 family Tubuloglomerular feedback




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