Scientists from the University of Missouri found that an FDA-approved drug to lower blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes also may decrease blood vessel dysfunction linked to aging.
The research is published in the journal GeroScience and was conducted by Camila Manrique-Acevedo et al.
The researchers initially examined the role aging plays in human blood vessel function and stiffness.
Then they evaluated how treatment with the sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitor empagliflozin (Empa) improved blood vessel function and reduced arterial stiffness.
In the current study, the team first compared blood vessel function and stiffness in 18 healthy human patients—the average age of 25—with 18 patients who averaged 61 years old.
They found that older patients had impaired endothelial function and increased aortic stiffness compared to younger patients.
The findings in young and older adults confirm previous clinical data demonstrating the impact of aging on blood vessel function and arterial stiffness.
In order to examine the effects of Empa on vascular aging, the team tested 72-week-old male mice which were divided into two groups.
Twenty-nine were fed for six weeks with a diet enriched with Empa, while the other half were given standard food.
After analyzing both groups six weeks later, researchers discovered the mice treated with Empa experienced improved blood vessel function, reduced arterial stiffness, and other vascular benefits.
This is the first study to examine the potential role of SGLT2 inhibition in reversing vascular aging.
These findings highlight the need for further clinical studies to determine the potential role of SGLT2 inhibition as a treatment to delay or reverse vascular aging in humans.
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