Metformin action on AMP-activated protein kinase: a translational research approach to understanding a potential new therapeutic target.

Research paper by J G JG Boyle, I P IP Salt, G A GA McKay

Indexed on: 22 Sep '10Published on: 22 Sep '10Published in: Diabetic Medicine


Clinical studies in Type 2 diabetes mellitus have shown that the effects of metformin go beyond improving HbA(1c) and include reductions in cardiovascular endpoints. Metformin therapy has been widely used in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes for many years, yet the precise mode of action remains uncertain. It has recently been proposed that metformin-mediated stimulation of hepatic AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) underlies the hypoglycaemic effects of metformin. AMPK is a heterotrimeric enzyme that is expressed in many tissues and plays a central role in the regulation of energy homoeostasis. Furthermore, there is increasing evidence that AMPK is implicated in the pathophysiology of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. The generation of more specific and potent activators of AMPK, however, could have additional metabolic and vascular benefits for patients with Type 2 diabetes.