Metformin and metabolic diseases: a focus on hepatic aspects

Juan Zheng, Shih Lung Woo, Xiang Hu, Rachel Botchlett, Lulu Chen, Yuqing Huo, Chaodong Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

45 Scopus citations

Abstract

Metformin has been widely used as a first-line anti-diabetic medicine for the treatment of type 2 diabetes (T2D). As a drug that primarily targets the liver, metformin suppresses hepatic glucose production (HGP), serving as the main mechanism by which metformin improves hyperglycemia of T2D. Biochemically, metformin suppresses gluconeogenesis and stimulates glycolysis. Metformin also inhibits glycogenolysis, which is a pathway that critically contributes to elevated HGP. While generating beneficial effects on hyperglycemia, metformin also improves insulin resistance and corrects dyslipidemia in patients with T2D. These beneficial effects of metformin implicate a role for metformin in managing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. As supported by the results from both human and animal studies, metformin improves hepatic steatosis and suppresses liver inflammation. Mechanistically, the beneficial effects of metformin on hepatic aspects are mediated through both adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK)-dependent and AMPK-independent pathways. In addition, metformin is generally safe and may also benefit patients with other chronic liver diseases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-186
Number of pages14
JournalFrontiers of Medicine
Volume9
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • diabetes
  • hepatic steatosis
  • inflammatory response
  • insulin resistance
  • metformin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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  • Cite this

    Zheng, J., Woo, S. L., Hu, X., Botchlett, R., Chen, L., Huo, Y., & Wu, C. (2015). Metformin and metabolic diseases: a focus on hepatic aspects. Frontiers of Medicine, 9(2), 173-186. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11684-015-0384-0