Loss of beta cell identity and subsequent transdifferentiation of beta-to-alpha cells is implicated in the pathogenesis of diabetes. In addition, sodium-glucose transport protein 2 (SGLT2) inhibition has been linked to altered alpha-cell function. To investigate these phenomenon, lineage tracing of beta-cells was examined following 10–12 days dapagliflozin (1 or 5 mg/kg, once daily, as appropriate) treatment in multiple low-dose streptozotocin (STZ), high fat fed (HFF) or hydrocortisone (HC) transgenic Ins1 Cre/+/Rosa26-eYFP mouse models of diabetes and insulin resistance. As anticipated, STZ, HFF and HC treated mice developed characteristic features of insulin deficiency or resistance. Dapagliflozin elicited differing beneficial effects depending on the aetiology of syndrome studied. The SGLT2 inhibitor efficiently promoted (P < 0.001) weight loss in HFF and STZ mice, whilst in HC mice it reduced (P < 0.001) energy intake, without an impact on body weight. Despite lacking significant effects on glycaemia, 1 mg/kg dapagliflozin consistently decreased both plasma and pancreatic glucagon. This was associated with increased pancreatic insulin in STZ and HFF mice. In STZ and HFF mice, beta cell proliferation and Pdx1 expression were enhanced by dapagliflozin, with a further increase in overall glucagon staining in HFF islets. Islet, beta- and alpha-cell areas were increased in dapagliflozin treated HC mice, which appeared to be linked to decreased alpha- and beta-cell apoptosis. Although the diabetes-like syndromes induced clear alterations in islet cell transdifferentiation, treatment with dapagliflozin (1 mg/kg) had no significant impact on this process, with 5 mg/kg marginally decreasing loss of beta-cells identity in STZ mice. These data suggest that SGLT2 inhibitors have positive effects on beta cells and decrease plasma and pancreatic glucagon, independent of changes in ambient glucose levels. Our combined data indicate that SGLT2 inhibitors do not directly induce hyperglucagonaemia.
- High fat feeding (HFF)
- Hydrocortisone (HC)
- Sodium-glucose transporter 2 (SGLT2)
- Streptozotocin (STZ)