BackgroundEmpagliflozin has been shown to reduce cardiovascular mortality, but the underlying pathogenetic mechanisms are poorly understood. It was previously demonstrated that empagliflozin improved arterial stiffness.MethodsOur analysis comprising 58 patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus identifies factors triggering the improvement of arterial stiffness. All patients participated in an investigator-initiated, prospective, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, interventional clinical trial (http://www.ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT02471963, registered 15th June 2015, retrospectively registered) and received either 6-weeks treatment with 25mg empagliflozin orally once daily or placebo (crossover). Central systolic pressure and central pulse pressure were recorded by the SphygmoCor System (AtCor Medical). Now, we investigated the impact of parameters of glucose metabolism, volume status, sympathetic activation, lipids, uric acid, blood pressure and inflammation on vascular parameters of arterial stiffness using multivariate regression analysis.ResultsAs previously reported, therapy with empagliflozin improved arterial stiffness as indicated by reduced central systolic blood pressure (113.612.1 vs 118.612.9mmHg, p<0.001), central pulse pressure (39.1 +/- 10.2 vs 41.9 +/- 10.7mmHg, p=0.027) forward (27.1 +/- 5.69 vs 28.7 +/- 6.23mmHg, p=0.031) as well as reflected wave amplitude (18.9 +/- 5.98 vs 20.3 +/- 5.97mmHg, p=0.045) compared to placebo. The multivariate regression analysis included age, sex and change between empagliflozin and placebo therapy of the following parameters: HbA1c, copeptin, hematocrit, heart rate, LDL-cholesterol, uric acid, systolic 24-h ambulatory blood pressure and high sensitive CRP (hsCRP). Besides the influence of age (beta=-0.259, p=0.054), sex (beta=0.292, p=0.040) and change in systolic 24-h ambulatory blood pressure (beta=0.364, p=0.019), the change of hsCRP (beta=0.305, p=0.033) emerged as a significant determinant of the empagliflozin induced reduction in arterial stiffness (placebo corrected). When replacing HbA1c with fasting plasma glucose in the multivariate regression analysis, a similar effect of the change in hsCRP (beta=0.347, p=0.017) on arterial stiffness parameters was found.Conclusion Besides age and sex, change in systolic 24-h ambulatory blood pressure and change in hsCRP were determinants of the empagliflozin induced improvement of vascular parameters of arterial stiffness, whereas parameters of change in glucose metabolism and volume status had no significant influence. Our analysis suggests that empagliflozin exerts, at least to some extent, its beneficial vascular effects via anti-inflammatory mechanisms.
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