Antidiabetic sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors have attracted attention for their cardiorenal-protective properties beyond their glucose-lowering effect. However, their benefits in ischemic stroke remain controversial. Here we show the effects of luseogliflozin, a selective SGLT2 inhibitor, in acute ischemic stroke, using a permanent middle cerebral artery occlusion (pMCAO) model in non-diabetic mice. Pretreatment with low-dose luseogliflozin, which does not affect blood glucose levels, significantly attenuated infarct volume, blood-brain barrier disruption, and motor dysfunction after pMCAO. SGLT2 was expressed predominantly in brain pericytes and was upregulated in peri- and intra-infarct areas. Notably, luseogliflozin pretreatment reduced pericyte loss in ischemic areas. In cultured pericytes, luseogliflozin activated AMP-activated protein kinase α and increased mitochondrial transcription factor A expression and number of mitochondria, conferring resistance to oxygen-glucose deprivation. Collectively, pre-stroke inhibition of SGLT2 induces ischemic tolerance in brain pericytes independent of the glucose-lowering effect, contributing to the attenuation of ischemic brain injury.
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