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SGLT2 Inhibitors as a Novel Treatment for Pediatric Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease

The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details. Identifier: NCT03867487
Recruitment Status : Active, not recruiting
First Posted : March 8, 2019
Last Update Posted : March 4, 2022
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
University of Minnesota

Brief Summary:
This study is a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial specifically designed to evaluate the preliminary feasibility, initial efficacy and safety of SGLT2 inhibitors for treating NAFLD in adolescents with obesity.

Condition or disease Intervention/treatment Phase
Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease NAFLD Pediatric NAFLD Drug: Empagliflozin 10 MG Drug: Placebo Oral Tablet Phase 2

Detailed Description:

The overall aim of this pilot study is to evaluate the feasibility and obtain a preliminary estimate of efficacy and safety of the SGLT2 inhibitor, empagliflozin, in adolescents with obesity (BMI-percentile ≥95th) who have MRI-confirmed NAFLD (hepatic fat fraction ≥ 5.5%) and have normal fasting glucose.

Participants will take empagliflozin, once daily, in the morning, with or without food, in addition to receiving lifestyle/behavioral counseling throughout the study.

The following data will be collected throughout the course of the study: Physical exam with tanner staging, safety and fasting labs, fasting blood draw (biomarkers), urine sample, stool sample, OGTT, CGM sensor placement and removal, MRI scan (MRS-Liver), BMI/anthropometrics, urine pregnancy test for female participants, iDXA scan (body fat and bone density), arterial stiffness and blood pressure.

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Study Type : Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
Estimated Enrollment : 40 participants
Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Double (Participant, Investigator)
Masking Description: This is a double blind clinical trial in which the study team and the participants are blinded to whether the subject received placebo or study drug.
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: SGLT2 Inhibitors as a Novel Treatment for Pediatric Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Actual Study Start Date : May 1, 2019
Estimated Primary Completion Date : May 1, 2024
Estimated Study Completion Date : December 1, 2024

Arm Intervention/treatment
Experimental: Study intervention
Empagliflozin 10 mg will be taken daily
Drug: Empagliflozin 10 MG
Participants will take a 10 mg oral tablet of empagliflozin, an orally-active inhibitor of sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2)
Other Name: Jardiance

Placebo Comparator: Control arm
Placebo oral tablet will be taken daily
Drug: Placebo Oral Tablet
Participants will take an identical appearing oral tablet with zero active ingredient.
Other Name: Control group

Primary Outcome Measures :
  1. Efficacy as Measured by Change in Hepatic Fat Fraction (HFF) [ Time Frame: Baseline to 26 weeks ]
    HFF is measured by MRI via 1H- magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS). HFF will be measured with single-voxel 1H-MRS on a 3.0 T Trio whole body MRI scanner, using the software package provided by the vendor. The MR elastography measurement will consist of a phase-contrast 2D GRE scan (TR/TE = 50/25 ms, matrix 256 x 90, GRAPPA R=3, slice thickness 7mm) with motion encoding in the z-direction, and acoustic excitation at 60 Hz. Four axial slices will be acquired, each with a single breath-hold. Manual ROIs covering the liver will be drawn on the stiffness maps (in kPa units) generated by the system software. Fibrosis staging will be determined following previously published guidelines.

Secondary Outcome Measures :
  1. Change in Body Measurements: Body mass index (BMI) [ Time Frame: Baseline to 26 weeks ]
    Height and weight will be measured using a calibrated, wall-mounted stadiometer and an electronic scale, respectively. Three consecutive height and weight measurements will be obtained and averaged. BMI will be calculated as the weight in kilograms divided by the height in meters, squared.

  2. Change in Body Measurements: Body Fat % [ Time Frame: Baseline to 26 weeks ]
    Total percent body fat mass and lean muscle mass will be determined by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (iDXA, GE Healthcare). Body fat percentage is calculated by body fat mass divided by the sum of fat and lean masses.

  3. Change in Body Measurements: Visceral Fat % [ Time Frame: Baseline to 26 weeks ]
    Total body fat mass and visceral fat mass will be determined by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (iDXA, GE Healthcare). Visceral fat percentage of total body mass is calculated by visceral fat mass divided by the sum of total fat and lean masses. Visceral fat percentage of total fat mass is calculated by visceral fat mass divided by total fat mass.

  4. Change in Biomarkers of NAFLD: Alanine transaminase (ALT) [ Time Frame: Baseline to 26 weeks ]
    Fasting (≥12 hours) blood will be collected for the measurement of ALT at Fairview Diagnostics Laboratories, Fairview-University Medical Center, Minneapolis, MN - a Center for Disease Control and Prevention certified laboratory.

  5. Change in Biomarkers of NAFLD: Cytokeratin (CK)-18 [ Time Frame: Baseline to 26 weeks ]
    Fasting plasma samples will be used to measure CK-18 via Luminex Multiplex platform (Millipore, St. Louis, MO).

  6. Change in Blood Pressure [ Time Frame: Baseline to 26 weeks ]
    Blood pressure measurements will be obtained manually on the same arm using the same cuff size and equipment. Standardized procedures will be employed as described in previously published standards. Individual cuff size will be determined by measuring the arm circumference midway between the acromial process and the bony olecranon. Sitting blood pressure and heart rate will be measured after the participant has been resting quietly without legs crossed for 10 minutes. Measurements will be made three consecutive times (3-minute intervals). The final two of three independent measurements will be averaged.

  7. Change in Arterial Stiffness [ Time Frame: Baseline to 26 weeks ]
    Carotid- and femoral artery augmentation index and carotid-femoral pulse wave velocity (PWV) will be measured by the SphygmoCor® MM3 system (AtCor Medical, Sydney, Australia). Augmentation index is a measure of the relative magnitude of the reflected (or retrograde) pulse wave early in the cardiac cycle. Higher values of augmentation index represent increased arterial stiffening. PWV will be calculated as distance divided by transit time. Since pulse wave transit time decreases in stiffer arterial segments, higher values of pulse wave velocity represent increased arterial stiffness.

  8. Change in Glycemic Control [ Time Frame: Baseline to 26 weeks ]
    After fasting measures are completed, we will perform a 2-hour oral glucose tolerance test with fasting (-15 and 0-min) and serial postprandial (15-, 30-, 45-, 60-, 90-, and 120-minutes) plasma concentrations of glucose (glucose oxidase, YSI INC., Yellow Sprigs, OH) and insulin (ELISA, ALPCO Diagnostics, Windham, NH) measured after administration of a 75g glucose challenge. Samples will be batched and a stored for analysis at the completion of the study. Insulin sensitivity will be estimated by the whole-body insulin sensitivity index (WBISI) using plasma glucose and insulin concentrations.

  9. Change in Proton Density Fat Fraction (PDFF) from MRI [ Time Frame: Baseline to 26 weeks ]
    A proton density fat fraction (PDFF) image will be acquired using LiverLab's "qdixon" imaging acquisition (3D gradient echo, TR=9ms, flip angle=4°, TE=1.15, 2.46, 3.69, 4.92, 6.15, 7.38 ms, 2x2x3.5mm resolution, one 17s breath-hold). The MRS measurement of HFF will be used as the primary metric. As a secondary endpoint we will use PDFF which has shown promise as a measure of fibrosis staging compared to liver biopsy in children.

Information from the National Library of Medicine

Choosing to participate in a study is an important personal decision. Talk with your doctor and family members or friends about deciding to join a study. To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contacts provided below. For general information, Learn About Clinical Studies.

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Ages Eligible for Study:   12 Years to 17 Years   (Child)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

For clinical referral to screening visit:

  1. Age: 12 to <20 years old
  2. Diagnosis of Obesity: BMI-percentile ≥95th (using age- and sex- based Center for Disease Control definitions) or BMI ≥30 kg/m2
  3. Elevated alanine aminotransferase (ALT) more than twice the upper limit of normal by gender (≥44 U/L for girls, ≥50 U/L for boys) within 3 months prior to screening (used for historic ALT value) OR diagnosis of NAFLD from ultrasound, MRI, or participants with biopsy-proven NASH within 12 moths of screening
  4. History of lifestyle modification to treat obesity or NAFLD

To be obtained at screening visit:

  1. Confirmation of Obesity
  2. Tanner stage 2
  3. Normal fasting glucose tolerance (fasting blood glucose <100 mg/dL)
  4. If Screening ALT is used as inclusion criteria [if > 2x historic ALT value (historical value obtained clinically within 12 months of screening visit), repeated after 4 weeks [unable to randomize until completed]]. If the repeat ALT is more than 50% increased or decreased over the screening ALT, a third ALT should be obtained. If a third ALT is not within 50% of the previous value, then the subject is ineligible but may be screened at a later date. If ALT is not used:

    • An ultrasound will be done to diagnose NAFLD if the diagnosis has not previously been made by ultrasound, MRI or biopsy
    • A MRI-derived HFF ≥ 5.5%
  5. Willingness to adhere to lifestyle considerations throughout the study

Exclusion Criteria:

  1. ALT > 250U/L at screening
  2. History of significant alcohol intake or current use
  3. Impaired fasting glucose (>100 mg/dL)
  4. Diabetes (type 1 or 2)
  5. Current or recent (<6 months prior to enrollment) use of weight loss medication(s)
  6. Vitamin E supplementation
  7. Previous bariatric surgery
  8. Use of metformin
  9. Prior use of empagliflozin
  10. Lower limb infection/ulceration within 3 months of screening
  11. Metal or magnetic implants, devices or objects inside of or on the body, which are not MRI compatible
  12. Structural and functional urogenital abnormalities, that predispose for urogenital infections
  13. Recent initiation (<3 months prior to enrollment) of anti-hypertensive or lipid medication(s)
  14. Major psychiatric disorder
  15. Current pregnancy or plans to become pregnant.Females unwilling to be tested for pregnancy. Females will be tested for pregnancy. Females who are sexually active and not protected by an effective method of birth control (e.g. UID or medication or patch)
  16. Tobacco use
  17. Significant liver dysfunction (levels >5 times the upper limit of normal (ULN)):

    ALT (ULN = 50 U/L) AST (ULN = 48 U/L) GGT (ULN = 48 U/L) ALP (ULN = 115 U/L)

  18. Platelets < 150,000 cells/mm3
  19. Total bilirubin 1.3 mg/dL
  20. INR 1.3
  21. Albumin <3.2 g/dL
  22. Gilbert's Syndrome
  23. Any known causes of liver disease (except NAFLD and NASH)
  24. Significant renal dysfunction (estimated glomerular filtration rate [eGFR] < 90 mL/min/1.73 m2),
  25. Diagnosed monogenic obesity
  26. History of cancer
  27. Untreated thyroid disorder
  28. History of decompensation events (ascites, variceal bleeding, hepatic encephalopathy, or hepatocellular carcinoma)
  29. Current or recent (<6 months prior to enrollment) use of medication(s) associated with weight gain (e.g. atypical anti-psychotics)

Information from the National Library of Medicine

To learn more about this study, you or your doctor may contact the study research staff using the contact information provided by the sponsor.

Please refer to this study by its identifier (NCT number): NCT03867487

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United States, Minnesota
University of Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States, 55455
Sponsors and Collaborators
University of Minnesota
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Principal Investigator: Justin Ryder, PhD University of Minnesota
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Responsible Party: University of Minnesota Identifier: NCT03867487    
Other Study ID Numbers: PEDS-2018-23728
First Posted: March 8, 2019    Key Record Dates
Last Update Posted: March 4, 2022
Last Verified: March 2022
Individual Participant Data (IPD) Sharing Statement:
Plan to Share IPD: No

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Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Drug Product: Yes
Studies a U.S. FDA-regulated Device Product: No
Additional relevant MeSH terms:
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Liver Diseases
Fatty Liver
Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
Digestive System Diseases
Sodium-Glucose Transporter 2 Inhibitors
Molecular Mechanisms of Pharmacological Action
Hypoglycemic Agents
Physiological Effects of Drugs