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Separate and combined effects of semaglutide and empagliflozin on kidney oxygenation and perfusion in people with type 2 diabetes: a randomised trial

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskrift/Konferencebidrag i tidsskrift /Bidrag til avisTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: Glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1ras) and sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors (SGLT2is) have shown kidney-protective effects. Improved kidney oxygenation and haemodynamic changes are suggested mechanisms; however, human data are scarce. We therefore investigated whether semaglutide (GLP-1ra), empagliflozin (SGLT2i) or their combination improve kidney oxygenation and perfusion.

METHODS: The trial was undertaken at Aarhus University Hospital, Denmark. A total of 120 people with type 2 diabetes (HbA 1c ≥48 mmol/mol [6.5%]) and at high risk of CVD (age ≥50 years) were randomised into four parallel groups (n=30 in each group) for 32 weeks: 1.0 mg semaglutide (open label); 10 mg empagliflozin (blinded to participants, caregivers, examiners and outcome assessors); their combination (1.0 mg semaglutide open label plus 10 mg empagliflozin blinded to participants, caregivers, examiners and outcome assessors); and placebo tablet (blinded to participants, caregivers, examiners and outcome assessors). Sequentially numbered, sealed envelopes containing computer-generated randomisation codes, provided by Glostrup Pharmacy, Glostrup, Denmark, determined the intervention. The two co-primary outcomes were change in kidney oxygenation and change in arterial stiffness. This paper reports on kidney oxygenation, for which 80 individuals as prespecified, 20 in each group, underwent MRI. We primarily hypothesised that kidney oxygenation would be improved in the active treatment groups compared with placebo after 32 weeks. Secondary outcomes included changes in kidney perfusion, erythropoietin, haematocrit, urine albumin/creatinine ratio (UACR) and GFR (measured using technetium-99m) compared with baseline and between treatment groups at week 32.

RESULTS: Our model estimated a common baseline R2* value across all four groups in the cortex and the medulla. At baseline, the value was 24.5 (95% CI 23.9, 24.9) Hz in the medulla. After 32 weeks, the R2* values in the medulla were estimated to be 25.4 (95% CI 24.7, 26.2) Hz in the empagliflozin group and 24.5 (95% CI 23.9, 25.1) Hz in the placebo group (p=0.016) (higher R2* corresponds to a lower oxygenation). Semaglutide decreased perfusion in both the cortex and the medulla. Empagliflozin increased erythropoietin and haematocrit. All three active treatments decreased GFR but not UACR. Ten serious adverse events were reported, among them two occurrences of semaglutide-associated obstipation.

CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: Our hypothesis, that semaglutide, empagliflozin or their combination improve kidney oxygenation, was rejected. On the contrary, empagliflozin induced a reduction in medullary kidney oxygenation. Semaglutide substantially reduced kidney perfusion without affecting oxygenation.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: Clinicaltrialsregister.eu EudraCT 2019-000781-38 FUNDING: Novo Nordisk Foundation, Central Denmark Region Research Fund and Danish Medical Associations Research Foundation.

Sider (fra-til)813-825
Antal sider13
StatusUdgivet - maj 2023

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