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1.  Heritability of variation in glycaemic response to metformin: a genome-wide complex trait analysis 
Metformin is a first-line oral agent used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, but glycaemic response to this drug is highly variable. Understanding the genetic contribution to metformin response might increase the possibility of personalising metformin treatment. We aimed to establish the heritability of glycaemic response to metformin using the genome-wide complex trait analysis (GCTA) method.
In this GCTA study, we obtained data about HbA1c concentrations before and during metformin treatment from patients in the Genetics of Diabetes Audit and Research in Tayside Scotland (GoDARTS) study, which includes a cohort of patients with type 2 diabetes and is linked to comprehensive clinical databases and genome-wide association study data. We applied the GCTA method to estimate heritability for four definitions of glycaemic response to metformin: absolute reduction in HbA1c; proportional reduction in HbA1c; adjusted reduction in HbA1c; and whether or not the target on-treatment HbA1c of less than 7% (53 mmol/mol) was achieved, with adjustment for baseline HbA1c and known clinical covariates. Chromosome-wise heritability estimation was used to obtain further information about the genetic architecture.
5386 individuals were included in the final dataset, of whom 2085 had enough clinical data to define glycaemic response to metformin. The heritability of glycaemic response to metformin varied by response phenotype, with a heritability of 34% (95% CI 1–68; p=0·022) for the absolute reduction in HbA1c, adjusted for pretreatment HbA1c. Chromosome-wise heritability estimates suggest that the genetic contribution is probably from individual variants scattered across the genome, which each have a small to moderate effect, rather than from a few loci that each have a large effect.
Glycaemic response to metformin is heritable, thus glycaemic response to metformin is, in part, intrinsic to individual biological variation. Further genetic analysis might enable us to make better predictions for stratified medicine and to unravel new mechanisms of metformin action.
Wellcome Trust.
PMCID: PMC4038749  PMID: 24731673
2.  Effect of genetic variation in the organic cation transporter 1 (OCT1) on metformin action 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  2007;117(5):1422-1431.
Metformin is among the most widely prescribed drugs for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Organic cation transporter 1 (OCT1) plays a role in the hepatic uptake of metformin, but its role in the therapeutic effects of the drug, which involve activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), is unknown. Recent studies have shown that human OCT1 is highly polymorphic. We investigated whether OCT1 plays a role in the action of metformin and whether individuals with OCT1 polymorphisms have reduced response to the drug. In mouse hepatocytes, deletion of Oct1 resulted in a reduction in the effects of metformin on AMPK phosphorylation and gluconeogenesis. In Oct1-deficient mice the glucose-lowering effects of metformin were completely abolished. Seven nonsynonymous polymorphisms of OCT1 that exhibited reduced uptake of metformin were identified. Notably, OCT1-420del (allele frequency of about 20% in white Americans), previously shown to have normal activity for model substrates, had reduced activity for metformin. In clinical studies, the effects of metformin in glucose tolerance tests were significantly lower in individuals carrying reduced function polymorphisms of OCT1. Collectively, the data indicate that OCT1 is important for metformin therapeutic action and that genetic variation in OCT1 may contribute to variation in response to the drug.
PMCID: PMC1857259  PMID: 17476361
3.  The Role of Genetic Factors and Kidney and Liver Function in Glycemic Control in Type 2 Diabetes Patients on Long-Term Metformin and Sulphonylurea Cotreatment 
BioMed Research International  2014;2014:934729.
This study investigated the influence of genetic polymorphisms of metformin transporters on long-term glycemic control and lipid status in type 2 diabetes patients in the everyday clinical setting. In total 135 patients treated with combination of metformin and sulphonylurea for at least 6 months were genotyped for SLC22A1 rs628031 and SLC47A1 rs2289669 polymorphisms. Relatively good blood glucose control with median HbA1c 6.9 (6.4–7.6) % was achieved on prescribed metformin dosage of 2550 (2000–2550) mg per day. Only 28 (20.7%) patients experienced mild hypoglycemia events, while no severe hypoglycemia events were observed. Most patients had normal or mildly impaired renal function. Parameters indicating renal function were not correlated with fasting glucose, HbA1c, or lipid parameters. Rs628031 and rs2289669 had minor allele frequencies of 0.385 and 0.355, respectively, and were not associated with HbA1c levels. Rs628031 was marginally associated with risk for hypoglycemia events (P = 0.046; OR = 0.51; 95% CI 0.26–0.99), while significant correlation was observed between rs2289669 and total cholesterol levels (P = 0.018). In conclusion, in patients on long-term metformin and sulphonylurea combination treatment, metformin transporters polymorphisms do not play a major role in glycemic control; however, they may influence lipid status.
PMCID: PMC4070329  PMID: 25025077
4.  Reappraisal of Metformin Efficacy in the Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes: A Meta-Analysis of Randomised Controlled Trials 
PLoS Medicine  2012;9(4):e1001204.
Catherine Cornu and colleagues performed a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials of metformin efficacy on cardiovascular morbidity or mortality in patients with type 2 diabetes and showed that although metformin is considered the gold standard, its benefit/risk ratio remains uncertain.
The UK Prospective Diabetes Study showed that metformin decreases mortality compared to diet alone in overweight patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Since then, it has been the first-line treatment in overweight patients with type 2 diabetes. However, metformin-sulphonylurea bitherapy may increase mortality.
Methods and Findings
This meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials evaluated metformin efficacy (in studies of metformin versus diet alone, versus placebo, and versus no treatment; metformin as an add-on therapy; and metformin withdrawal) against cardiovascular morbidity or mortality in patients with type 2 diabetes. We searched Medline, Embase, and the Cochrane database. Primary end points were all-cause mortality and cardiovascular death. Secondary end points included all myocardial infarctions, all strokes, congestive heart failure, peripheral vascular disease, leg amputations, and microvascular complications. Thirteen randomised controlled trials (13,110 patients) were retrieved; 9,560 patients were given metformin, and 3,550 patients were given conventional treatment or placebo. Metformin did not significantly affect the primary outcomes all-cause mortality, risk ratio (RR) = 0.99 (95% CI: 0.75 to 1.31), and cardiovascular mortality, RR = 1.05 (95% CI: 0.67 to 1.64). The secondary outcomes were also unaffected by metformin treatment: all myocardial infarctions, RR = 0.90 (95% CI: 0.74 to 1.09); all strokes, RR = 0.76 (95% CI: 0.51 to 1.14); heart failure, RR = 1.03 (95% CI: 0.67 to 1.59); peripheral vascular disease, RR = 0.90 (95% CI: 0.46 to 1.78); leg amputations, RR = 1.04 (95% CI: 0.44 to 2.44); and microvascular complications, RR = 0.83 (95% CI: 0.59 to 1.17). For all-cause mortality and cardiovascular mortality, there was significant heterogeneity when including the UK Prospective Diabetes Study subgroups (I2 = 41% and 59%). There was significant interaction with sulphonylurea as a concomitant treatment for myocardial infarction (p = 0.10 and 0.02, respectively).
Although metformin is considered the gold standard, its benefit/risk ratio remains uncertain. We cannot exclude a 25% reduction or a 31% increase in all-cause mortality. We cannot exclude a 33% reduction or a 64% increase in cardiovascular mortality. Further studies are needed to clarify this situation.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Worldwide, more than 350 million people have diabetes, and this number is increasing rapidly. Diabetes is characterized by dangerous amounts of sugar (glucose) in the blood. Blood sugar levels are normally controlled by insulin, a hormone produced by the pancreas. In people with type 2 diabetes (the most common form of diabetes), blood sugar control fails because the fat and muscle cells that usually respond to insulin by removing excess sugar from the blood become less responsive to insulin. Type 2 diabetes can be controlled with diet and exercise and with antidiabetic pills, each of which works in a different way to maintain a healthy blood sugar level. Metformin, for example, stops the liver making glucose and increases the body's response to insulin, whereas sulfonylureas help the pancreas make more insulin. The long-term complications of diabetes, which include an increased risk of cardiovascular problems such as heart disease and stroke, reduce the life expectancy of people with diabetes by about ten years compared to people without diabetes.
Why Was This Study Done?
In 1998, a large randomized clinical trial called the UK Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS 34) reported that metformin in combination with dietary control reduced all-cause mortality in overweight patients with type 2 diabetes when compared to dietary control alone. Specifically, the risk of death from any cause among patients taking metformin was about a third lower than the risk of death among patients not taking metformin—a risk ratio (RR) of 0.64. This reduction in risk was significant (that is, it was unlikely to have occurred by chance) because its 95% confidence interval (95% CI; there is a 95% chance that the “true” RR lies within this interval) of 0.45–0.91 did not overlap 1.0. Given this finding, metformin is now recommended as the first-line treatment for type 2 diabetes. However, UKPDS 34 also reported an increase in death in non-overweight patients who took metformin plus sulfonylurea compared to those who took sulfonylurea alone (RR: 1.60; 95% CI: 1.02–2.52), a result considered non-significant by the UKPDS 34 researchers and largely ignored ever since. So do the benefits of metformin outweigh its risks? In this meta-analysis, the researchers re-evaluate the risk-to-benefit balance of metformin in the treatment of patients with type 2 diabetes. A meta-analysis is a statistical method that combines the results of several studies.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 13 randomized controlled trials that evaluated the effect of metformin on cardiovascular morbidity (illness) and mortality in patients with type 2 diabetes. More than 13,000 patients participated in these studies, three-quarters of whom received metformin and a quarter of whom received other treatments or a placebo. Compared to other treatments, metformin treatment had no effect on the risk of all-cause mortality (RR: 0.99; 95% CI: 0.75–1.31) or cardiovascular mortality (RR: 1.05; 95% CI: 0.67–1.64), the primary end points of this study. However, the results of the individual trials varied more than would be expected by chance (“heterogeneity”). Exclusion of the UKPDS 34 trial from the meta-analysis had no effect on the estimated risk ratio for all-cause mortality or cardiovascular deaths, but the heterogeneity disappeared. Finally, metformin treatment had no significant effect on the risk of cardiovascular conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, and heart failure; there was no heterogeneity among the trials for these secondary end points.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show no evidence that metformin has any beneficial effect on all-cause mortality, on cardiovascular mortality, or on cardiovascular morbidity among patients with type 2 diabetes. These findings must be cautiously interpreted because only a few randomized controlled trials were included in this study, and only a few patients died or developed any cardiovascular illnesses. Importantly, however, from these findings, it is impossible to exclude beyond reasonable doubt the possibility that metformin causes up to a 25% reduction or a 31% increase in all-cause mortality. Similarly, these findings cannot exclude the possibility that metformin causes up to a 33% reduction or a 64% increase in cardiovascular mortality. Given that a large number of patients take metformin for many years as a first-line treatment for diabetes, further studies are urgently needed to clarify this situation.
Additional Information
Please access these web sites via the online version of this summary at
The International Diabetes Federation provides information about all aspects of diabetes
The US National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse provides information about diabetes for patients, health-care professionals, and the general public, including detailed information on diabetes medicines (in English and Spanish)
The UK National Health Service Choices web site provides information for patients and carers about type 2 diabetes and includes peoples stories about diabetes
The charity Diabetes UK also provides detailed information for patients and carers, including information on diabetes medications, and has a further selection of stories from people with diabetes
MedlinePlus provides links to further resources and advice about diabetes and about diabetes medicines; it also provides information about metformin (in English and Spanish)
The charity Healthtalkonline has interviews with people about their experiences of diabetes and of controlling diabetes with oral medications
PMCID: PMC3323508  PMID: 22509138
5.  SLC2A9 Is a High-Capacity Urate Transporter in Humans 
PLoS Medicine  2008;5(10):e197.
Serum uric acid levels in humans are influenced by diet, cellular breakdown, and renal elimination, and correlate with blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, gout, and cardiovascular disease. Recent genome-wide association scans have found common genetic variants of SLC2A9 to be associated with increased serum urate level and gout. The SLC2A9 gene encodes a facilitative glucose transporter, and it has two splice variants that are highly expressed in the proximal nephron, a key site for urate handling in the kidney. We investigated whether SLC2A9 is a functional urate transporter that contributes to the longstanding association between urate and blood pressure in man.
Methods and Findings
We expressed both SLC2A9 splice variants in Xenopus laevis oocytes and found both isoforms mediate rapid urate fluxes at concentration ranges similar to physiological serum levels (200–500 μM). Because SLC2A9 is a known facilitative glucose transporter, we also tested whether glucose or fructose influenced urate transport. We found that urate is transported by SLC2A9 at rates 45- to 60-fold faster than glucose, and demonstrated that SLC2A9-mediated urate transport is facilitated by glucose and, to a lesser extent, fructose. In addition, transport is inhibited by the uricosuric benzbromarone in a dose-dependent manner (Ki = 27 μM). Furthermore, we found urate uptake was at least 2-fold greater in human embryonic kidney (HEK) cells overexpressing SLC2A9 splice variants than nontransfected kidney cells. To confirm that our findings were due to SLC2A9, and not another urate transporter, we showed that urate transport was diminished by SLC2A9-targeted siRNA in a second mammalian cell line. In a cohort of men we showed that genetic variants of SLC2A9 are associated with reduced urinary urate clearance, which fits with common variation at SLC2A9 leading to increased serum urate. We found no evidence of association with hypertension (odds ratio 0.98, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.9 to 1.05, p > 0.33) by meta-analysis of an SLC2A9 variant in six case–control studies including 11,897 participants. In a separate meta-analysis of four population studies including 11,629 participants we found no association of SLC2A9 with systolic (effect size −0.12 mm Hg, 95% CI −0.68 to 0.43, p = 0.664) or diastolic blood pressure (effect size −0.03 mm Hg, 95% CI −0.39 to 0.31, p = 0.82).
This study provides evidence that SLC2A9 splice variants act as high-capacity urate transporters and is one of the first functional characterisations of findings from genome-wide association scans. We did not find an association of the SLC2A9 gene with blood pressure in this study. Our findings suggest potential pathogenic mechanisms that could offer a new drug target for gout.
Editors' Summary
Blood is continually pumped around the human body to deliver the chemicals needed to keep the body's cells alive and to take cellular waste products to the kidneys where they are filtered out of the blood and excreted in the urine. In healthy people, the levels of nutrients and waste products in serum (the liquid part of blood) fall within “normal” ranges but in ill people these levels can be very different. For example, serum uric acid (urate) levels are usually increased in people with gout. In this arthritic condition, uric acid crystallizes in the joints (often those in the big toe) and causes swelling and intense pain. Increased serum urate levels, which are also associated with high blood pressure, diabetes, and several other important conditions, can be caused by eating food that is rich in chemicals called purines (for example, liver, dried beans, and port). The body also converts its own purines into uric acid so genetic variations in the enzymes involved in purine breakdown can alter serum urate levels, as can variations in the rate of urate removal from the body by the kidneys. Urinary urate excretion is controlled by urate transporters, proteins that carry urate into and out of the kidney cells. Uricosuric drugs, which are used to treat gout, reduce serum urate levels by inhibiting a urate transporter that reabsorbs urate from urine.
Why Was This Study Done?
Several urate transporters have already been identified but recently, using an approach called genome-wide association scanning, scientists found that some genetic variants of a human gene called SLC2A9 are more common in people with high serum urate levels than in people with normal levels. SLC2A9 encodes a glucose transporter (a protein that helps to move the sugar glucose through cell membranes) and is highly expressed in the kidney's main urate handling site. Given these facts, could SLC2A9 (the protein made from SLC2A9) be a urate transporter as well as a glucose transporter? In this study, the researchers investigate this possibility and also ask whether genetic variations in SLC2A9 might be responsible for the association between serum urate levels and high blood pressure.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers first expressed SLC2A9 in frog eggs, a type of cell that does not have its own urate transporter. They found that urate rapidly moved into eggs expressing SLC2A9 but not into control eggs, that SLC2A9 transported urate about 50 times faster than glucose, and that glucose stimulated SLC2A9-mediated urate transport. Similarly, overexpression of SLC2A9 in human embryonic kidney cells more than doubled their urate uptake. Conversely, when the researchers used a technique called RNA interference to reduce the expression of mouse SLC2A9 in mouse cells that normally makes this protein, urate transport was reduced. Next, the researchers looked at two small parts of SLC2A9 that vary between individuals (so-called single polynucleotide polymorphisms) in nearly 900 men who had had their serum urate levels and urinary urate excretion rates measured. They found that certain genetic variations at these two sites were associated with increased serum urate levels and decreased urinary urate excretion. Finally, the researchers used a statistical technique called meta-analysis to look for an association between one of the SLC2A9 gene variants and blood pressure. In two separate meta-analyses that together involved more than 20, 000 participants in several studies, there was no association between this gene variant and blood pressure.
What Do These Findings Mean?
Overall, these findings indicate that SLCA9 is a high capacity urate transporter and suggest that this protein plays an important part in controlling serum urate levels. They provide confirmation that common genetic variants in SLC2A9 affect serum urate levels to a marked degree, although they do not show exactly which genetic variant is responsible for increasing serum urate levels. They also provide important new insights into how the kidneys normally handle urate and suggest ways in which this essential process may sometimes go wrong. Thus, these findings could eventually lead to new treatments for gout and possibly for other diseases that are associated with increased serum urate levels.
Additional Information.
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at
The UK National Health Service Direct health encyclopedia provides detailed information for patients about gout
MedlinePlus provides links to many sources of information about gout (in English and Spanish), including “What is gout?”, an easy-to-read guide from the US National Institutes of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
Wikipedia also has pages on gout, uric acid, and SCL2A9 (note: Wikipedia is a free online encyclopedia that anyone can edit; available in several languages)
The Arthritis Research Campaign also has information on gout
Mark Caulfield and colleagues show that theSLC2A9 gene, which encodes a facilitative glucose transporter, is also a high-capacity urate transporter.
PMCID: PMC2561076  PMID: 18842065
6.  Genetic polymorphisms potentially associated with response to metformin in postmenopausal diabetics suffering and not suffering with cancer 
Cell Cycle  2013;12(23):3681-3688.
Metformin is a well-known antidiabetic medication, which, besides diabetes, may be involved into modulation of other age-related pathologies, including cancer. The study concerns 12 gene polymorphisms divided into 2 groups consisting of 6 genes each. The first group was composed from so-called “standard” (S) polymorphisms, for which the connection with metabolic response to metformin is already established. The second group included polymorphisms of genes encoding proteins possibly connected with diabetes mellitus type 2 (DM2), impaired glucose tolerance or cancer and entitled here as “associated” (A). A total of 156 postmenopausal women (average age 60.7 ± 0.7) were included, 37 of them healthy, 64 with type DM2 and concurrent treatment-naïve cancer (mostly breast, endometrial or colorectal cancer), 32 with DM2 without cancer, and 23 with treatment-naïve cancer and normal glucose tolerance. The leading metformin response S-marker in combined group of DM2 patients was the CC variant of OCT1-R61C polymorphism of organic cation transporter protein 1 gene. In cancer patients without DM2, this position belonged to AC and AA genotypes of OCT1_rs622342 polymorphism. Among the A-polymorphisms, GA variant of sex hormone-binding globulin gene SHBG_D356N was less frequently observed in DM2 patients with or without cancer. Besides, in diabetics, the same polymorphic variant of SHBG as well as GC genotype of oxidized lipoprotein receptor OLR1_G501C and GG genotype of locus rs11065987 near BRAP gene were carried rather often in combination with “metformin-positive” variant of OCT1_R61C. In addition, carriers of OCT1_R61C and OCT1_rs622342 polymorphisms with potentially positive reaction to metformin had higher insulin resistance score (HOMA-IR) values. Received data lead to the conclusion that postmenopausal diabetics, both with and without cancer, differ in genetic stigmata of potential response to metformin less than they differ from cancer patients without DM2. As genetic polymorphisms associated with metabolic and anticancer metformin (and, possibly, phenformin) effects may be different, this subject requires further investigation.
PMCID: PMC3903719  PMID: 24145224
cancer; diabetes; postmenopausal females; metformin; pharmacogenetics; polymorphisms
7.  SLC22A2 gene 808 G/T variant is related to plasma lactate concentration in Chinese type 2 diabetics treated with metformin 
Acta Pharmacologica Sinica  2010;31(2):184-190.
To investigate the potential relationship between the SLC22A2 gene polymorphism and blood lactate concentration in Shanghai Hans suffering from type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).
The SLC22A2 single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) 808G/T was genotyped in 400 T2DM patients, including a metformin-treated group (n=200) and a non-metformin-treated group (n=200). Fasting plasma lactic acid levels were measured with an enzyme-electrode assay. Biochemical indexes, including plasma alanine aminotransferase (ALT), creatinine (Cr), and glycolated hemoglobin (HbA1c), were also measured.
The fasting plasma lactate concentration in the metformin-treated group was significantly higher than that in the non-metformin-treated group (1.29±0.45 mmol/L vs 1.18±0.44 mmol/L, P=0.015). Additionally, the ratio of patients with hyperlactacidemia was 8% (16/200) for the metformin-treated group and 5.5% (11/200) for the non-metformin-treated group, with no lactic acidosis found in either group. The frequency of the SLC22A2 808G/T T allele was 12.9%. Patients with the mutant genotype (TT) had a higher blood lactate concentration in the metformin-treated group than those in the non-metformin-treated group (t=2.492, P=0.013). This trend was not observed in the GG and GT genotypes when compared with metformin-treated and non-metformin-treated groups. Patients with the mutant genotype (TT) in the metformin-treated group also had a higher incidence of hyperlactacidemia compared with the GG genotype (40.0% vs 6.9%, P=0.050) in the metformin-treated group and the GG (6.0%, P=0.042) or GT (4.3%, P=0.043) genotypes in the non-metformin-treated group. In the metformin-treated group, there were significant gender differences in lactate concentrations in the TT (2.18±0.15 vs 1.04±0.27 mmol/L, P=0.008) and GG genotypes (1.40±0.51 vs 1.19±0.35 mmol/L, P=0.004). The lactate levels of women with the TT genotype were the highest in the metformin-treated group, but differences in lactate levels among the genotypes were not observed in the non-metformin-treated group.
There is an 808G/T polymorphism in the SLC22A2 gene in Chinese Hans with T2DM. The 808G>T variance in the SLC22A2 gene can affect the plasma lactate level and the incidence of hyperlactacidemia in T2DM patients undergoing metformin therapy. Additionally, the female patients carrying the TT genotype are prone to lactatemia.
PMCID: PMC4002837  PMID: 20139901
ASP-PCR; metformin; SLC22A2 gene; organic cation transporter 2; lactate; single nucleotide polymorphism; type 2 diabetes mellitus
8.  Genetic Variation in the Multidrug and Toxin Extrusion 1 Transporter Protein Influences the Glucose-Lowering Effect of Metformin in Patients With Diabetes: A Preliminary Study 
Diabetes  2009;58(3):745-749.
OBJECTIVE— Metformin, an oral glucose-lowering drug, is taken up in hepatocytes by the organic cation transporter (OCT) 1 and in renal epithelium by OCT2. In these cells, the multidrug and toxin extrusion (MATE) 1 protein, encoded by the SLC47A1 gene, is responsible for the excretion of metformin into the bile and urine, respectively. We studied the effect of single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the SLC47A1 gene on the A1C-lowering effect of metformin.
RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS— We identified all incident metformin users in the Rotterdam Study, a population-based cohort study. Associations between 12 tagging SNPs in the SLC47A1 gene and change in A1C level were analyzed.
RESULTS— One hundred and sixteen incident metformin users were included in the study sample. The rs2289669 G>A SNP was significantly associated with metformin response. For the other SNPs, no associations were found. For each minor A allele at rs2289669, the A1C reduction was 0.30% (95% CI −0.51 to −0.10; P = 0.005) larger. After Bonferroni correction for multiple testing, the P value was 0.045.
CONCLUSIONS— The rs2289669 G>A SNP is associated with a reduction in A1C level, consistent with a reduction in MATE1 transporter activity. These results suggest that the transporter MATE1, encoded by SLC47A1, may have an important role in the pharmacokinetics of metformin, although replication is necessary.
PMCID: PMC2646075  PMID: 19228809
9.  Initial combination of linagliptin and metformin in patients with type 2 diabetes: efficacy and safety in a randomised, double-blind 1-year extension study 
To determine the efficacy and safety of linagliptin in initial combination with metformin in patients with type 2 diabetes.
This 1-year randomised, double-blind study was an extension of a 6-month randomised controlled trial, in which adults with type 2 diabetes received one of six treatment regimens (linagliptin 2.5 mg plus metformin 500 mg bid, linagliptin 2.5 mg plus metformin mg 1000 bid, metformin 1000 mg bid, metformin 500 mg bid, linagliptin 5 mg qd or placebo). In the extension, patients in the first three treatment groups continued their regimen (non-switched group, n = 333) while the metformin 500 mg bid, linagliptin 5 mg qd and placebo groups were re-randomised to one of the three continuing regimens (switched group, n = 233).
All three non-switched groups maintained reductions in glycosylated haemoglobin (HbA1c; mean ± standard deviation reductions across the 1.5-year period: linagliptin 2.5 plus metformin 1000 bid, –1.63 ± 1.05%; linagliptin 2.5 plus metformin 500 bid, –1.32 ± 1.06%; metformin 1000 bid, –1.25 ± 0.91%) while the switched groups showed additional HbA1c reductions. During the extension, there were no clinically meaningful changes in body weight in any group. Adverse event rates were similar between groups, with most events being mild or moderate, and the incidence of investigator-defined hypoglycaemia was low, with no severe events.
Initial combination of linagliptin and metformin was well tolerated over the 1-year extension period, with low risk of hypoglycaemia, and improved glycaemic control vs. metformin alone.
The initial combination of linagliptin and metformin appears to provide a useful treatment option in patients whose blood glucose levels are increased to an extent that metformin monotherapy may not achieve treatment targets.
PMCID: PMC4282285  PMID: 24118640
10.  Variation in KCNQ1 is associated with therapeutic response to sulphonylureas 
We aimed to analyse quantitative effects of treatment with sulphonylurea in addition to metformin on parameters of glycemic control in relation to KCNQ1 genotypes, and to identify factors predictive for the response to sulphonylurea treatment.
Effect of 6-month sulphonylurea therapy in addition to metformin on glycemic control according to KCNQ1 genotypes was evaluated in 87 patients with type 2 diabetes who failed to achieve glycemic control on metformin monotherapy. KCNQ1 rs163184 (T>G) polymorphism was determined by real-time PCR with melting analysis of unlabeled probe.
The reduction in fasting plasma glucose (ΔFPG) after 6-month sulphonylurea therapy significantly differed among 3 KCNQ1 genotype groups (ANOVA, p=0.017). In a recessive genetic model, carriers of the T-allele (TT+TG) achieved significantly lower FPG levels in comparison with patients with the GG genotype (6.95±0.13 vs. 7.50±0.21 mmol/L, p=0.033). Consequently, ΔFPG was significantly higher in the TT+TG group compared to the GG group (1.58±0.13 vs. 1.04±0.18 mmol/L, p=0.016). In multiple linear regression analysis KCNQ1 genotype (p=0.016) and baseline FPG (p<0.001) were the only significant independent predictors of ΔFPG (R2=0.48).
Our results suggest that the magnitude of FPG reduction after 6-month sulphonylurea treatment in addition to metformin in patients with type 2 diabetes is related to the variation in KCNQ1. The FPG response to sulphonylureas was significantly lower in carriers of the risk GG genotype.
PMCID: PMC3539557  PMID: 21709633
pharmacogenetics; sulphonylureas; KCNQ1; glycemic control; type 2 diabetes
11.  The effect of novel promoter variants in MATE1 and MATE2 on the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of metformin 
Interindividual variation in response to metformin, first-line therapy for type 2 diabetes, is substantial. Given that transporters are determinants of metformin pharmacokinetics, we examined the effects of promoter variants in both multidrug and toxin extrusion protein 1 (MATE1) (g.−66T→C, rs2252281) and MATE2 (g.−130G→A, rs12943590) on variation in metformin disposition and response. The pharmacokinetics and glucose-lowering effects of metformin were assessed in healthy volunteers (n = 57) receiving metformin. The renal and secretory clearances of metformin were higher (22% and 26%, respectively) in carriers of variant MATE2 who were also MATE1 reference (P < 0.05). Both MATE genotypes were associated with altered post-metformin glucose tolerance, with variant carriers of MATE1 and MATE2 having an enhanced (P < 0.01) and reduced (P < 0.05) response, respectively. Consistent with these results, patients with diabetes (n = 145) carrying the MATE1 variant showed enhanced metformin response. These findings suggest that promoter variants of MATE1 and MATE2 are important determinants of metformin disposition and response in healthy volunteers and diabetic patients.
PMCID: PMC3671611  PMID: 23267855
metformin; MATE1; MATE2; genetic polymorphism; pharmacokinetics; pharmacodynamics; glucose; healthy volunteers; type II diabetic patients; HbA1c
12.  Pharmacogenetics of Oral Antidiabetic Drugs 
Oral antidiabetic drugs (OADs) are used for more than a half-century in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Only in the last five years, intensive research has been conducted in the pharmacogenetics of these drugs based mainly on the retrospective register studies, but only a handful of associations detected in these studies were replicated. The gene variants in CYP2C9, ABCC8/KCNJ11, and TCF7L2 were associated with the effect of sulfonylureas. CYP2C9 encodes sulfonylurea metabolizing cytochrome P450 isoenzyme 2C9, ABCC8 and KCNJ11 genes encode proteins constituting ATP-sensitive K+ channel which is a therapeutic target for sulfonylureas, and TCF7L2 is a gene with the strongest association with type 2 diabetes. SLC22A1, SLC47A1, and ATM gene variants were repeatedly associated with the response to metformin. SLC22A1 and SLC47A1 encode metformin transporters OCT1 and MATE1, respectively. The function of a gene variant near ATM gene identified by a genome-wide association study is not elucidated so far. The first variant associated with the response to gliptins is a polymorphism in the proximity of CTRB1/2 gene which encodes chymotrypsinogen. Establishment of diabetes pharmacogenetics consortia and reduction in costs of genomics might lead to some significant clinical breakthroughs in this field in a near future.
PMCID: PMC3845331  PMID: 24324494
13.  Short-Term Continuous Subcutaneous Insulin Infusion Combined with Insulin Sensitizers Rosiglitazone, Metformin, or Antioxidant α-Lipoic Acid in Patients with Newly Diagnosed Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus 
Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics  2013;15(10):859-869.
Short-term continuous subcutaneous insulin infusion (CSII) in patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes has been proved effective in improving metabolic control and β-cell function, thus inducing long-term drug-free remission. A randomized controlled trial was conducted to investigate whether CSII in combination with rosiglitazone, metformin, or α-lipoic acid separately brings about extra benefits.
Patients and Methods
One hundred sixty patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes were randomized to one of four treatment groups: CSII alone, CSII in combination with rosiglitazone or metformin for 3 months, or CSII with α-lipoic acid intravenous infusion for 2 weeks. Duration of CSII treatment was identical in the four groups. Glucose and lipid profiles, homeostasis model assessment (HOMA) indices, acute insulin response (AIR), intramyocellular lipid (IMCL) level, and malondialdehyde level were compared before and after intervention.
The near-normoglycemia rate at the third month in CSII alone and that in combination with rosiglitazone, metformin, or α-lipoic acid was 72.5%, 87.5%, 90%, and 75%, respectively (metformin group vs. CSII alone, P=0.045). The metformin group achieved euglycemia in a shorter time (2.6±1.3 vs. 3.7±1.8 days, P=0.020) with less daily insulin dosage and was more powerful in lowering total cholesterol, increasing AIR and HOMA β-cell function, whereas reduction of IMCL in the soleus was more obvious in the rosiglitazone group but not in the metformin group. The efficacy of combination with α-lipoic acid was similar to that of CSII alone.
Short-term CSII in combination with rosiglitazone or metformin is superior to CSII alone, yet the efficacy of the two differs in some way, whereas that with α-lipoic acid might not have an additive effect.
PMCID: PMC3781121  PMID: 23991629
14.  Effects of Genetic Variants Previously Associated with Fasting Glucose and Insulin in the Diabetes Prevention Program 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(9):e44424.
Common genetic variants have been recently associated with fasting glucose and insulin levels in white populations. Whether these associations replicate in pre-diabetes is not known. We extended these findings to the Diabetes Prevention Program, a clinical trial in which participants at high risk for diabetes were randomized to placebo, lifestyle modification or metformin for diabetes prevention. We genotyped previously reported polymorphisms (or their proxies) in/near G6PC2, MTNR1B, GCK, DGKB, GCKR, ADCY5, MADD, CRY2, ADRA2A, FADS1, PROX1, SLC2A2, GLIS3, C2CD4B, IGF1, and IRS1 in 3,548 Diabetes Prevention Program participants. We analyzed variants for association with baseline glycemic traits, incident diabetes and their interaction with response to metformin or lifestyle intervention. We replicated associations with fasting glucose at MTNR1B (P<0.001), G6PC2 (P = 0.002) and GCKR (P = 0.001). We noted impaired β-cell function in carriers of glucose-raising alleles at MTNR1B (P<0.001), and an increase in the insulinogenic index for the glucose-raising allele at G6PC2 (P<0.001). The association of MTNR1B with fasting glucose and impaired β-cell function persisted at 1 year despite adjustment for the baseline trait, indicating a sustained deleterious effect at this locus. We also replicated the association of MADD with fasting proinsulin levels (P<0.001). We detected no significant impact of these variants on diabetes incidence or interaction with preventive interventions. The association of several polymorphisms with quantitative glycemic traits is replicated in a cohort of high-risk persons. These variants do not have a detectable impact on diabetes incidence or response to metformin or lifestyle modification in the Diabetes Prevention Program.
PMCID: PMC3439414  PMID: 22984506
15.  Common Variants in 40 Genes Assessed for Diabetes Incidence and Response to Metformin and Lifestyle Intervention in the Diabetes Prevention Program 
Diabetes  2010;59(10):2672-2681.
Genome-wide association studies have begun to elucidate the genetic architecture of type 2 diabetes. We examined whether single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) identified through targeted complementary approaches affect diabetes incidence in the at-risk population of the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) and whether they influence a response to preventive interventions.
We selected SNPs identified by prior genome-wide association studies for type 2 diabetes and related traits, or capturing common variation in 40 candidate genes previously associated with type 2 diabetes, implicated in monogenic diabetes, encoding type 2 diabetes drug targets or drug-metabolizing/transporting enzymes, or involved in relevant physiological processes. We analyzed 1,590 SNPs for association with incident diabetes and their interaction with response to metformin or lifestyle interventions in 2,994 DPP participants. We controlled for multiple hypothesis testing by assessing false discovery rates.
We replicated the association of variants in the metformin transporter gene SLC47A1 with metformin response and detected nominal interactions in the AMP kinase (AMPK) gene STK11, the AMPK subunit genes PRKAA1 and PRKAA2, and a missense SNP in SLC22A1, which encodes another metformin transporter. The most significant association with diabetes incidence occurred in the AMPK subunit gene PRKAG2 (hazard ratio 1.24, 95% CI 1.09–1.40, P = 7 × 10−4). Overall, there were nominal associations with diabetes incidence at 85 SNPs and nominal interactions with the metformin and lifestyle interventions at 91 and 69 mostly nonoverlapping SNPs, respectively. The lowest P values were consistent with experiment-wide 33% false discovery rates.
We have identified potential genetic determinants of metformin response. These results merit confirmation in independent samples.
PMCID: PMC3279522  PMID: 20682687
16.  Metformin therapy in a hyperandrogenic anovulatory mutant murine model with polycystic ovarian syndrome characteristics improves oocyte maturity during superovulation 
Metformin, an oral biguanide traditionally used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, is widely used for the management of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)-related anovulation. Because of the significant prevalence of insulin resistance and glucose intolerance in PCOS patients, and their putative role in ovulatory dysfunction, the use of metformin was touted as a means to improve ovulatory function and reproductive outcomes in PCOS patients. To date, there has been inconsistent evidence to demonstrate a favorable effect of metformin on oocyte quality and competence in women with PCOS. Given the heterogeneous nature of this disorder, we hypothesized that metformin may be beneficial in mice with aberrant metabolic characteristics similar to a significant number of PCOS patients. The aim of this study was to gain insight into the in vitro and in vivo effects of metformin on oocyte development and ovulatory function.
We utilized metformin treatment in the transgenic ob/ob and db/db mutant murine models which demonstrate metabolic and reproductive characteristics similar to women with PCOS. Results: Metformin did not improve in vitro oocyte maturation nor did it have an appreciable effect on in vitro granulosa cell luteinization (progesterone production) in any genotype studied. Although both mutant strains have evidence of hyperandrogenemia, anovulation, and hyperinsulinemia, only db/db mice treated with metformin had a greater number of mature oocytes and total overall oocytes compared to control. There was no observed impact on body mass, or serum glucose and androgens in any genotype.
Our data provide evidence to suggest that metformin may optimize ovulatory performance in mice with a specific reproductive and metabolic phenotype shared by women with PCOS. The only obvious difference between the mutant murine models is that the db/db mice have elevated leptin levels raising the questions of whether their response to metformin is related to elevated leptin levels and/or if a subset of PCOS women with hyperleptinemia may be responsive to metformin therapy. Further study is needed to better define a subset of women with PCOS that may be responsive to metformin.
PMCID: PMC3121715  PMID: 21605417
polycystic ovarian syndrome; metformin; hyperinsulinemia; oocyte; superovulation
17.  A Clinical Trial to Maintain Glycemic Control in Youth with Type 2 Diabetes 
The New England journal of medicine  2012;366(24):2247-2256.
Despite the increasing prevalence of type 2 diabetes in youth, there are few data to guide treatment. We compared the efficacy of three treatment regimens to achieve durable glycemic control in children and adolescents with recent-onset type 2 diabetes.
Eligible patients 10 to 17 years of age were treated with metformin (at a dose of 1000 mg twice daily) to attain a glycated hemoglobin level of less than 8% and were randomly assigned to continued treatment with metformin alone or to metformin combined with rosiglitazone (4 mg twice a day) or a lifestyle-intervention program focusing on weight loss through eating and activity behaviors. The primary outcome was loss of glycemic control, defined as a glycated hemoglobin level of at least 8% for 6 months or sustained metabolic decompensation requiring insulin.
Of the 699 randomly assigned participants (mean duration of diagnosed type 2 diabetes, 7.8 months), 319 (45.6%) reached the primary outcome over an average follow-up of 3.86 years. Rates of failure were 51.7% (120 of 232 participants), 38.6% (90 of 233), and 46.6% (109 of 234) for metformin alone, metformin plus rosiglitazone, and metformin plus lifestyle intervention, respectively. Metformin plus rosiglitazone was superior to metformin alone (P = 0.006); metformin plus lifestyle intervention was intermediate but not significantly different from metformin alone or metformin plus rosiglitazone. Prespecified analyses according to sex and race or ethnic group showed differences in sustained effectiveness, with metformin alone least effective in non-Hispanic black participants and metformin plus rosiglitazone most effective in girls. Serious adverse events were reported in 19.2% of participants.
Monotherapy with metformin was associated with durable glycemic control in approximately half of children and adolescents with type 2 diabetes. The addition of rosiglitazone, but not an intensive lifestyle intervention, was superior to metformin alone. (Funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases and others; TODAY number, NCT00081328.)
PMCID: PMC3478667  PMID: 22540912
18.  A Common 5′-UTR Variant in MATE2-K Is Associated With Poor Response to Metformin 
Multidrug and toxin extrusion 2 (MATE2-K (SLC47A2)), a polyspecific organic cation exporter, facilitates the renal elimination of the antidiabetes drug metformin. In this study, we characterized genetic variants of MATE2-K, determined their association with metformin response, and elucidated their impact by means of a comparative protein structure model. Four nonsynonymous variants and four variants in the MATE2-K basal promoter region were identified from ethnically diverse populations. Two nonsynonymous variants—c.485C>T and c.1177G>A—were shown to be associated with significantly lower metformin uptake and reduction in protein expression levels. MATE2-K basal promoter haplotypes containing the most common variant, g.−130G>A (>26% allele frequency), were associated with a significant increase in luciferase activities and reduced binding to the transcriptional repressor myeloid zinc finger 1 (MZF-1). Patients with diabetes who were homozygous for g.−130A had a significantly poorer response to metformin treatment, assessed as relative change in glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) (−0.027 (−0.076, 0.033)), as compared with carriers of the reference allele, g.−130G (−0.15 (−0.17, −0.13)) (P = 0.002). Our study showed that MATE2-K plays a role in the antidiabetes response to metformin.
PMCID: PMC3329222  PMID: 21956618
19.  Metformin inhibits mitochondrial complex I of cancer cells to reduce tumorigenesis 
eLife  2014;3:e02242.
Recent epidemiological and laboratory-based studies suggest that the anti-diabetic drug metformin prevents cancer progression. How metformin diminishes tumor growth is not fully understood. In this study, we report that in human cancer cells, metformin inhibits mitochondrial complex I (NADH dehydrogenase) activity and cellular respiration. Metformin inhibited cellular proliferation in the presence of glucose, but induced cell death upon glucose deprivation, indicating that cancer cells rely exclusively on glycolysis for survival in the presence of metformin. Metformin also reduced hypoxic activation of hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1). All of these effects of metformin were reversed when the metformin-resistant Saccharomyces cerevisiae NADH dehydrogenase NDI1 was overexpressed. In vivo, the administration of metformin to mice inhibited the growth of control human cancer cells but not those expressing NDI1. Thus, we have demonstrated that metformin's inhibitory effects on cancer progression are cancer cell autonomous and depend on its ability to inhibit mitochondrial complex I.
eLife digest
Metformin is widely used to reduce the high blood sugar levels caused by diabetes. Recently, several studies have suggested that patients taking metformin who also develop cancer have tumors that grow more slowly than average. As clinical trials have already started to investigate if metformin is an effective anti-cancer treatment, it is important to understand how it might restrict tumor growth.
Researchers have proposed two ways that metformin could affect tumors. First, insulin is known to prompt cancer cells to divide, so the slower rate of tumor growth could just be a side-effect of the metformin reducing the amount of insulin in the blood. Alternatively, metformin could target cancer cells more directly by cutting the energy supply produced by their mitochondria. Metformin has been shown to disrupt complex I of the electron transport chain that is used by cells to generate energy. However, it is not known if disrupting complex I would actually stop cells dividing because they can generate energy in other ways.
Wheaton, Weinberg et al. have now demonstrated that metformin does target complex I in cancer cells, and that its effects depend on the amount of glucose available for cells to convert, without involving mitochondria, into energy. When there is plenty of glucose, metformin slows down the rate at which cancer cells divide, which slows down tumor growth. When the cells are deprived of glucose, metformin kills the cells instead.
Metformin also inhibits the pathways that regulate hypoxia inducible factors (HIFs), which are part of a system that helps cells to survive low-oxygen conditions, a prominent feature of many tumors. This means that metformin may combat cancer more effectively if used alongside other treatments that reduce the availability of both oxygen and glucose inside cells. Metformin could also potentially treat conditions that are linked to overactive HIFs, such as pulmonary hypertension.
PMCID: PMC4017650  PMID: 24843020
metformin; cancer; mitochondria; mouse
20.  Effect of the combination of mitiglinide and metformin on glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus 
Aims/Introduction:  Mitiglinide is the newest drug in the meglitinide family. It increases the early‐phase insulin release through rapid association‐dissociation kinetics in the pancreatic β cells. The efficacy and safety of adding meglitinide to metformin monotherapy in patients with type 2 diabetes are unknown.
Materials and Methods:  We carried out a prospective, randomized, multicenter trial to assess the efficacy and safety of combined treatment with mitiglinide and metformin for patients with type 2 diabetes who showed inadequate glycemic control with metformin monotherapy. Subjects with glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) >7.0% after an 8‐week metformin run‐in phase were randomized to a 16‐week trial phase with metformin plus mitiglinide (Met + Mit) or metformin plus placebo (Met + Pcb).
Results:  Compared with the Met + Pcb group, the Met + Mit group showed a greater reduction in HbA1c (−0.7 ± 0.6%vs−0.4 ± 0.7%, P = 0.002), fasting plasma glucose (−0.77 ± 1.76 mmol/L vs−0.05 ± 1.60 mmol/L, P = 0.015) and 2‐h postprandial glucose (−3.76 ± 3.57 mmol/L vs−0.84 ± 3.07 mmol/L, P < 0.0001). The proportion of the patients who achieved the target HbA1c value of <7% at the end of the study was also higher in the Met + Mit group than the Met + Pcb group (49.3%vs 28.8%, P = 0.016). There were no differences in the adverse event rates between groups.
Conclusions:  Combination therapy with metformin and mitiglinide is effective and safe for the treatment of patients with type 2 diabetes who have inadequate glycemic control with metformin monotherapy. (J Diabetes Invest, doi: 10.1111/j.2040‐1124.2010.00023.x, 2010)
PMCID: PMC4008006  PMID: 24843423
Mitiglinide; Metformin; Type 2 diabetes
21.  Adding Saxagliptin to Metformin Extended Release (XR) or Uptitration of Metformin XR: Efficacy on Daily Glucose Measures 
Diabetes Therapy  2013;4(2):269-283.
Saxagliptin added to metformin extended release (XR) and uptitrated metformin XR were evaluated for their impact on daily glucose measurements and their tolerability in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) inadequately controlled with metformin monotherapy.
Patients aged 18–78 years on metformin 850–1,500 mg with glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) 7.5–11.5% at screening were eligible for this double-blind, active-controlled study. Patients were stabilized on metformin XR 1,500 mg before randomization. Patients with HbA1c 7–11% and fasting plasma glucose (FPG) ≥126 mg/dL after a 4- 8-week lead-in period were randomly assigned to saxagliptin 5 mg + metformin XR 1,500 mg or metformin XR 500 mg + metformin XR 1,500 mg (uptitrated metformin XR). The primary end point was change from baseline to week 4 in 24-h mean weighted glucose (MWG). Secondary end points were changes from baseline to week 4 in 2-h postprandial glucose (PPG) and FPG.
At week 4, the adjusted mean ± SE change from baseline in 24-h MWG was −19.0 ± 5.7 mg/dL (95% CI −30.3 to −7.6) for saxagliptin + metformin XR and −8.2 ± 6.0 mg/dL (95% CI −20.0 to 3.7) for uptitrated metformin XR. Mean changes from baseline in 2-h PPG and FPG were numerically greater with saxagliptin + metformin XR versus uptitrated metformin XR. The incidence of adverse events was lower with saxagliptin + metformin XR (17.4%) versus uptitrated metformin XR (31.9%) mainly due to differences in gastrointestinal adverse event incidence (2.2% vs 10.6%, respectively). There were no reports of confirmed hypoglycemia in either group.
In this 4-week study in patients with T2DM inadequately controlled with metformin monotherapy, saxagliptin added to metformin XR demonstrated a trend for improvement in measures of daily glycemic control, with fewer gastrointestinal adverse events, compared with uptitrated metformin.
PMCID: PMC3889315  PMID: 23881432
Efficacy; Glycemic control; Metformin; Saxagliptin; Tolerability; Type 2 diabetes mellitus
22.  Effects of Metformin, Metformin Plus Rosiglitazone, and Metformin Plus Lifestyle on Insulin Sensitivity and β-Cell Function in TODAY 
Diabetes Care  2013;36(6):1749-1757.
The Treatment Options for type 2 Diabetes in Adolescents and Youth (TODAY) trial demonstrated that combination therapy with metformin plus rosiglitazone provided superior durability of glycemic control compared with metformin alone, with significantly lower treatment failure rates (38.6 vs. 51.7%), and metformin plus lifestyle was intermediate. Herein we describe the temporal changes in measures of β-cell function and insulin sensitivity over a 4-year period among the three treatments.
TODAY participants (699) were tested periodically with an oral glucose tolerance test to determine insulin sensitivity (1/fasting insulin [1/IF]), insulinogenic index (△I30/△G30) or C-peptide index (△C30/△G30), and β-cell function relative to insulin sensitivity (oral disposition index [oDI]).
During the first 6 months, metformin plus rosiglitazone exhibited a significantly greater improvement in insulin sensitivity and oDI versus metformin alone and versus metformin plus lifestyle; these improvements were sustained over 48 months of TODAY. Irrespective of treatment, those who failed to maintain glycemic control had significantly lower β-cell function (∼50%), higher fasting glucose concentration, and higher HbA1c at randomization compared with those who did not fail.
The beneficial change in insulin sensitivity and the resultant lower burden on β-cell function achieved in the first 6 months with metformin plus rosiglitazone appear to be responsible for its superior glycemic durability over metformin alone and metformin plus lifestyle. However, initial β-cell reserve and HbA1c at randomization are independent predictors of glycemic durability. Therefore, efforts to preserve β-cell function before significant loss occurs and to reduce HbA1c may be beneficial in the treatment of youth with type 2 diabetes.
PMCID: PMC3661836  PMID: 23704674
23.  The Anti-Diabetic Drug Metformin Protects against Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy in a Mouse Model 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(6):e100701.
Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) characterized by loss of sensory sensitivity and pain in hands and feet is the major dose-limiting toxicity of many chemotherapeutics. At present, there are no FDA-approved treatments for CIPN. The anti-diabetic drug metformin is the most widely used prescription drug in the world and improves glycemic control in diabetes patients. There is some evidence that metformin enhances the efficacy of cancer treatment. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that metformin protects against chemotherapy-induced neuropathic pain and sensory deficits. Mice were treated with cisplatin together with metformin or saline. Cisplatin induced increased sensitivity to mechanical stimulation (mechanical allodynia) as measured using the von Frey test. Co-administration of metformin almost completely prevented the cisplatin-induced mechanical allodynia. Co-administration of metformin also prevented paclitaxel-induced mechanical allodynia. The capacity of the mice to detect an adhesive patch on their hind paw was used as a novel indicator of chemotherapy-induced sensory deficits. Co-administration of metformin prevented the cisplatin-induced increase in latency to detect the adhesive patch indicating that metformin prevents sensory deficits as well. Moreover, metformin prevented the reduction in density of intra-epidermal nerve fibers (IENFs) in the paw that develops as a result of cisplatin treatment. We conclude that metformin protects against pain and loss of tactile function in a mouse model of CIPN. The finding that metformin reduces loss of peripheral nerve endings indicates that mechanism underlying the beneficial effects of metformin includes a neuroprotective activity. Because metformin is widely used for treatment of type II diabetes, has a broad safety profile, and is currently being tested as an adjuvant drug in cancer treatment, clinical translation of these findings could be rapidly achieved.
PMCID: PMC4067328  PMID: 24955774
24.  The C Allele of ATM rs11212617 Does Not Associate With Metformin Response in the Diabetes Prevention Program 
Diabetes Care  2012;35(9):1864-1867.
The C allele at the rs11212617 polymorphism in the ataxia-telangiectasia–mutated (ATM) gene has been associated with greater clinical response to metformin in people with type 2 diabetes. We tested whether this variant modified the effect of metformin in the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), in which metformin reduced diabetes incidence by 31% in volunteers with impaired glucose tolerance.
We genotyped rs11212617 in 2,994 DPP participants and analyzed its effects on diabetes incidence and related traits.
Contrary to expectations, C carriers enjoyed no preventive advantage on metformin; their hazard ratio, compared with A carriers, was 1.17 ([95% CI 0.96–1.42], P = 0.13) under metformin. There were no significant differences by genotype in metformin’s effects on insulin sensitivity, fasting glucose, glycated hemoglobin, or disposition index.
The reported association of rs11212617 with metformin response was not confirmed for diabetes prevention or for effects on relevant physiologic parameters in the DPP.
PMCID: PMC3425006  PMID: 22751958
25.  Pharmacogenetics Meets Metabolomics: Discovery of Tryptophan as a New Endogenous OCT2 Substrate Related to Metformin Disposition 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(5):e36637.
Genetic polymorphisms of the organic cation transporter 2 (OCT2), encoded by SLC22A2, have been investigated in association with metformin disposition. A functional decrease in transport function has been shown to be associated with the OCT2 variants. Using metabolomics, our study aims at a comprehensive monitoring of primary metabolite changes in order to understand biochemical alteration associated with OCT2 polymorphisms and discovery of potential endogenous metabolites related to the genetic variation of OCT2. Using GC-TOF MS based metabolite profiling, clear clustering of samples was observed in Partial Least Square Discriminant Analysis, showing that metabolic profiles were linked to the genetic variants of OCT2. Tryptophan and uridine presented the most significant alteration in SLC22A2-808TT homozygous and the SLC22A2-808G>T heterozygous variants relative to the reference. Particularly tryptophan showed gene-dose effects of transporter activity according to OCT2 genotypes and the greatest linear association with the pharmacokinetic parameters (Clrenal, Clsec, Cl/F/kg, and Vd/F/kg) of metformin. An inhibition assay demonstrated the inhibitory effect of tryptophan on the uptake of 1-methyl-4-phenyl pyrinidium in a concentration dependent manner and subsequent uptake experiment revealed differential tryptophan-uptake rate in the oocytes expressing OCT2 reference and variant (808G>T). Our results collectively indicate tryptophan can serve as one of the endogenous substrate for the OCT2 as well as a biomarker candidate indicating the variability of the transport activity of OCT2.
PMCID: PMC3348126  PMID: 22590580

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