The Role of SGLT2 Inhibitors in Atherosclerosis: A Narrative Mini-Review

Pahud de Mortanges, Aurélie; Salvador, Dante Jr.; Laimer, Markus; Muka, Taulant; Wilhelm, Matthias; Bano, Arjola (2021). The Role of SGLT2 Inhibitors in Atherosclerosis: A Narrative Mini-Review. Frontiers in Pharmacology, 12, p. 751214. Frontiers 10.3389/fphar.2021.751214

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Objective: Sodium glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors (SGLT2-is) are antidiabetic drugs that improve glycemic control by limiting urinary glucose reuptake in the proximal tubule. SGLT2-is might suppress atherosclerotic processes and ameliorate the prognosis of patients with diabetes mellitus diagnosed with or at high risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). In this mini review, we examine the role of SGLT2-is in the development and progression of atherosclerosis throughout its spectrum, from subclinical atherosclerosis to ASCVD.

Data Sources—PubMed and Google Scholar were searched for publications related to SGLT2-is and atherosclerosis. All types of articles were considered, including clinical trials, animal studies, in vitro observations, and reviews and meta-analyses. Data were examined according to their impact and clinical relevance.

Synopsis of Content—We first review the underlying mechanisms of SGLT2-is on the development and progression of atherosclerosis, including favorable effects on lipid metabolism, reduction of systemic inflammation, and improvement of endothelial function. We then discuss the putative impact of SGLT2-is on the formation, composition, and stability of atherosclerotic plaque. Furthermore, we evaluate the effects of SGLT2-is in subclinical atherosclerosis assessed by carotid intima media thickness and pulse wave velocity. Subsequently, we summarize the effects of SGLT2-is in ASCVD events, including ischemic stroke, angina pectoris, myocardial infarction, revascularization, and peripheral artery disease, as well as major adverse cardiovascular events, cardiovascular mortality, heart failure, and chronic kidney disease. Moreover, we examine factors that could modify the role of SGLT2-is in atherosclerosis, including sex, age, diabetes, glycemic control, ASCVD, and SGLT2-i compounds. Additionally, we propose future directions that can improve our understanding of SGLT2-is and atherosclerosis.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Cardiovascular Disorders (DHGE) > Clinic of Cardiology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Pre-clinic Human Medicine > Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine (ISPM)
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Gynaecology, Paediatrics and Endocrinology (DFKE) > Clinic of Endocrinology, Diabetology and Clinical Nutrition

UniBE Contributor:

Salvador, Dante Jr., Laimer, Markus, Muka, Taulant, Wilhelm, Matthias, Bano, Arjola


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology > 360 Social problems & social services








Matthias Wilhelm

Date Deposited:

19 Nov 2021 07:24

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:54

Publisher DOI:





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