To compare effects of the dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP-4) inhibitor linagliptin with those of a sulfonylurea on renal physiology in metformin-treated patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).In this double-blind randomized trial, 46 overweight T2DM patients without renal impairment received once-daily linagliptin (5 mg) or glimepiride (1 mg) for 8 weeks. Fasting glomerular filtration rate (GFR) and effective renal plasma flow (ERPF) were determined by inulin and para-aminohippuric acid clearances. Fractional excretions, urinary damage markers, and circulating DPP-4 substrates (among others, glucagon-like peptide 1 and stromal cell-derived factor-1α (SDF-1α)) were measured.HbA1c reductions were similar with linagliptin (-0.45 ± 0.09%) and glimepiride (-0.65 ± 0.10%) after 8 weeks (P = 0.101). Linagliptin versus glimepiride did not affect GFR, ERPF, estimated intrarenal hemodynamics or damage-makers. Only linagliptin increased fractional excretion (FE) of sodium (FENa) and potassium FEK, without affecting lithium FELi. Linagliptin-induced change in FENa correlated with SDF-1α (R = 0.660) but not with other DPP-4 substrates.Linagliptin does not affect fasting renal hemodynamics compared with glimepiride in T2DM patients. DPP-4 inhibition promotes modest natriuresis, possibly mediated by SDF-1α, likely distal to the macula densa.