Aging often brings about health challenges, including issues related to the function of blood vessels and arterial stiffness.
These changes can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, which are a leading cause of mortality among older adults.
While various methods exist to address vascular aging, researchers are continually exploring new treatments to enhance vascular health in the elderly.
A recent study published in GeroScience sheds light on the potential of Empagliflozin (Empa), an FDA-approved drug used to lower blood sugar in individuals with type 2 diabetes, in counteracting vascular aging.
Comparative Analysis of Vascular Health
The study began by establishing a baseline for blood vessel function and stiffness by comparing young adults (average age 25) with older adults (average age 61).
As expected, the older group exhibited a significant decline in endothelial function and an increase in aortic stiffness, indicative of vascular aging.
The critical phase of the research involved 72-week-old male mice, which were divided into two groups: one group received Empa-enriched food, while the other group followed a standard diet.
After six weeks, the Empa-treated group showed improved blood vessel function, reduced arterial stiffness, and other vascular benefits.
Mechanism Behind Empa’s Effectiveness
The key mechanism that underlies Empa’s potential to counter vascular aging is its ability to inhibit sodium glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2).
SGLT2 inhibitors work by preventing the kidneys from reabsorbing glucose into the bloodstream, thus lowering blood glucose levels.
This study marks the first exploration of SGLT2 inhibition’s potential role in countering vascular aging.
The Path Ahead
While these findings are based on preliminary results from animal studies, they set the stage for more comprehensive clinical investigations into the role of SGLT2 inhibition.
If these results prove applicable to humans, it could revolutionize the approach to vascular health in the aging population, offering a powerful tool alongside existing therapeutic methods.
The research received funding from reputable institutions, including the National Institutes of Health and a VA Merit Grant, bolstering the study’s significance.
Additionally, with no reported conflicts of interest among the authors, the findings hold substantial promise for future studies and potential therapeutic applications.
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