Background: The clear evidence of cardiovascular benefits in cardiovascular outcome trials of sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors (SGLT2i) in type 2 diabetes might suggest an effect on atherosclerotic plaque vulnerability and/or thrombosis, in which myeloid angiogenic cells (MAC) and platelets (PLT) are implicated. We tested the effects of SGLT2i on inflammation and oxidant stress in a model of stearic acid (SA)-induced lipotoxicity in MAC and on PLT activation. The possible involvement of the Na+/H+ exchanger (NHE) was also explored. Method: MAC and PLT were isolated from peripheral blood of healthy subjects and incubated with/without SGLT2i [empagliflozin (EMPA) and dapagliflozin (DAPA) 1-100 μM] to assess their effects on SA (100 μM)-induced readouts of inflammation, oxidant stress and apoptosis in MAC and on expression of PLT activation markers by flow-cytometry after ADP-stimulation. Potential NHE involvement was tested with amiloride (aspecific NHE inhibitor) or cariporide (NHE1 inhibitor). Differences among culture conditions were identified using one-way ANOVA or Friedman test. Results: NHE isoforms (1,5-9), but not SGLT2 expression, were expressed in MAC and PLT. EMPA and DAPA (100 μM) significantly reduced SA-induced inflammation (IL1β, TNFα, MCP1), oxidant stress (SOD2, TXN, HO1), but not apoptosis in MAC. EMPA and DAPA (both 1 μM) reduced PLT activation (CD62p and PAC1 expression). SGLT2i effects were mimicked by amiloride, and only partially by cariporide, in MAC, and by both inhibitors in PLT. Conclusions: EMPA and DAPA ameliorated lipotoxic damage in stearate-treated MAC, and reduced ADP-stimulated PLT activation, potentially via NHE-inhibition, thereby pointing to plaque stabilization and/or thrombosis inhibition as potential mechanism(s) involved in SGLT2i-mediated cardiovascular protection.
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