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Original Article

Korean J Physiol Pharmacol 2023; 27(3): 221-230

Published online May 1, 2023

Copyright © Korean J Physiol Pharmacol.

Combination of canagliflozin and puerarin alleviates the lipotoxicity to diabetic kidney in mice

Qian Zhu1,#, Qu Zhou1,#, Xiao-li Luo1, Xu-jie Zhang2, and San-yu Li1,*

1Department of Pharmacy, Hospital of Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chengdu 610072, 2Parexel China Co., Ltd., Chengdu 610000, China

Correspondence to:San-yu Li

#These authors contributed equally to this work.

Author contributions: All authors have made substantial contributions to the conception, design, analysis, and interpretation of this article. Q.Zhu and Q.Zhou carried out the experiments and drafted the manuscript. X.L. performed the statistical analysis. S.L. and X.Z. confirm the authenticity of all the raw data. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Received: June 23, 2022; Revised: February 2, 2023; Accepted: February 3, 2023

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License, which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Diabetic kidney disease is one of the most serious complications of diabetes. Although diabetic kidney disease can be effectively controlled through strict blood glucose management and corresponding symptomatic treatment, these therapies cannot reduce its incidence in diabetic patients. The sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors and the traditional Chinese herb “Gegen” have been widely used in diabetes-related therapy. However, it remains unclear whether the combined use of these two kinds of medicines contributes to an increased curative effect on diabetic kidney disease. In this study, we examined this issue by evaluating the efficacy of the combination of puerarin, an active ingredient of Gegen, and canagliflozin, an SGLT2 inhibitor for a 12-week intervention using a mouse model of diabetes. The results indicated that the combination of puerarin and canagliflozin was superior to canagliflozin alone in improving the metabolic and renal function parameters of diabetic mice. Our findings suggested that the renoprotective effect of combined puerarin and canagliflozin in diabetic mice was achieved by reducing renal lipid accumulation. This study provides a new strategy for the clinical prevention and treatment of diabetic kidney disease. The puerarin and SGLT2 inhibitor combination therapy at the initial stage of diabetes may effectively delay the occurrence of diabetic kidney injury, and significantly alleviate the burden of renal lipotoxicity.

Keywords: Canagliflozin, Diabetes mellitus, Diabetic nephropathies, Lipotoxicity, Puerarin