The SGLT2 inhibitor dapagliflozin attenuates the activity of ROS-NLRP3 inflammasome axis in steatohepatitis with diabetes mellitus

Weiling Leng, Mingxia Wu, Hang Pan, Xiaotian Lei, Liu Chen, Qinan Wu, Xinshou Ouyang, Ziwen Liang


Background: Diabetes mellitus (DM) is considered as a risk factor for the progress of liver diseases. After tissue damage, there is the highest amplitude of ubiquitously sterile inflammatory response in the liver, resulting in a major clinical consequence concerning a high prevalence of steatohepatitis in DM patients. This study aimed to investigate the inhibitory efficacy of dapagliflozin (DAPA), a sodium glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitor, on experimental steatohepatitis with DM.
Methods: DM-steatohepatitis model was established by dual intraperitoneal injection of streptozotocin (STZ) and feeding with the high-fat diet (HFD) in apolipoprotein E-deficient (ApoE–/–) mice (n=40). The mice were concurrently treated with DAPA (1 mg/kg/d) by gavage for 12 weeks.
Results: In ApoE–/– mice, dual HFD/STZ dramatically induced hepatic damage and inflammation as compared with HFD alone. DAPA treatment was effective to protect from hepatic damage and inflammation in dual HFD/STZ treated ApoE–/– mice. DAPA also significantly the probability decreased the blood glucose, hepatic lipid accumulation, liver steatosis, and fibrotic response in dual HFD/STZ treated ApoE–/– mice. Further mechanistic investigations indicated that the protection of DAPA on diabetic liver injury was associated with the suppressed production of hepatic reactive oxygen species (ROS) and malondialdehyde (MDA) and the inhibited activation of NOD-like receptor family pyrin domain containing 3 (NLRP3) inflammasome.
Conclusions: These data demonstrate the efficacy of DAPA for protecting liver damage, inflammation and steatosis from experimental steatohepatitis with DM, and indicate a possible involvement of the inhibited activity of ROS-NLRP3 inflammasome.