The Na+-D-glucose cotransporters SGLT1 and SGLT2 are targets for the treatment of diabetes and cancer

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Orally applied SGLT2 (SLC5A2) inhibitors that enter the blood and decrease renal reabsorption of glucose have been approved as antidiabetic drugs. They decrease blood glucose levels, slightly reduce body weight and blood pressure, and decrease the risk for diabetic nephropathy. The SGLT2 inhibitor empagliflozin has been shown to reduce the risk of severe cardiac failure. This review summarizes knowledge about the functions of SGLT2 and the pathophysiology of type 2 diabetes (T2D) and diabetic follow-up diseases. In addition, proposed pathophysiological mechanisms of therapeutic effects and of side effects of SGLT2 inhibitors are described. A recently investigated strategy to employ orally applied SGLT1 (SLC5A1) inhibitors for treatment of diabetes is discussed. The SGLT1 inhibitors reduce glucose absorption and decrease blood glucose excursions after the intake of glucose-rich food. Knowledge concerning the expression of SGLT1 in different organs is compiled and potential side effects of SGLT1 inhibitors entering the blood are discussed. Because selective targeting of SGLT1 expression presents a strategy to decrease SGLT1-mediated glucose absorption, current knowledge about the regulation of SGLT1 is also discussed. This includes the possibility to decrease SGLT1 abundance in the small intestinal brush-border membrane by a peptide derived from protein RS1 (RSC1A1) that regulates membrane trafficking. Finally the possibility to employ SGLT1 and SGLT2 as targets for anticancer therapy is discussed. SGLT1 and SGLT2 are expressed in various tumors where they supply the tumor cells with glucose for euglycemic glycolysis. Tumor growth of carcinoma expressing SGLT2 can be slowed down by an SGLT2 inhibitor.

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