Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) is a T cell-mediated autoimmune disease of the CNS. Metformin is the most widely used drug for diabetes and mediates its action via activating AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). We provide evidence that metformin attenuates the induction of EAE by restricting the infiltration of mononuclear cells into the CNS, down-regulating the expression of proinflammatory cytokines (IFN-γ, TNF-α, IL-6, IL-17, and inducible NO synthase (iNOS)), cell adhesion molecules, matrix metalloproteinase 9, and chemokine (RANTES). Furthermore, the AMPK activity and lipids alterations (total phospholipids and in free fatty acids) were restored by metformin treatment in the CNS of treated EAE animals, suggesting the possible involvement of AMPK. Metformin activated AMPK in macrophages and thereby inhibited biosynthesis of phospholipids as well as neutral lipids and also down-regulated the expression of endotoxin (LPS)-induced proinflammatory cytokines and their mediators (iNOS and cyclooxygenase 2). It also attenuated IFN-γ and IL-17-induced iNOS and cyclooxygenase 2 expression in RAW267.4 cells, further supporting its anti-inflammatory property. Metformin inhibited T cell-mediated immune responses including Ag-specific recall responses and production of Th1 or Th17 cytokines, while it induced the generation of IL-10 in spleen cells of treated EAE animals. Altogether these findings reveal that metformin may have a possible therapeutic value for the treatment of multiple sclerosis and other inflammatory diseases.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy