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J Endocrinol. 2004 Nov;183(2):299-307.

Metformin inhibits leptin secretion via a mitogen-activated protein kinase signalling pathway in brown adipocytes.

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1
Department of Internal Medicine I, University of Lübeck, Ratzeburger Allee 160, 23538 Lübeck, Germany. j.klein@uni-luebeck.de

Abstract

Metformin is an anti-diabetic drug with anorexigenic properties. The precise cellular mechanisms of its action are not entirely understood. Adipose tissue has recently been recognized as an important endocrine organ that is pivotal for the regulation of insulin resistance and energy homeostasis. Due to its thermogenic capacity brown adipose tissue contributes to the regulation of energy metabolism and is an attractive target tissue for pharmacological approaches to treating insulin resistance and obesity. Leptin is the prototypic adipocyte-derived hormone inducing a negative energy balance. We investigated effects of metformin on adipocyte metabolism, signalling, and leptin secretion in a brown adipocyte model. Metformin acutely stimulated p44/p42 mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase in a dose- (3.2-fold at 1 mmol/l, P< 0.05) as well as time-dependent (3.8-fold at 5 min, P< 0.05) manner. This stimulation was highly selective since phosphorylation of intermediates in the stress kinase, janus kinase (JAK)-signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT), and phosphatidylinositol (PI) 3-kinase signalling pathways such as p38 MAP kinase, STAT3, and Akt was unaltered. Furthermore, chronic metformin treatment for 12 days dose-dependently inhibited leptin secretion by 35% and 75% at 500 mumol/l and 1 mmol/l metformin respectively (P< 0.01). This reduction was not caused by alterations in adipocyte differentiation. Moreover, the impairment in leptin secretion by metformin was reversible within 48 h after removal of the drug. Pharmacological inhibition of p44/p42 MAP kinase prevented the metformin-induced negative effect on leptin secretion. Taken together, our data demonstrate direct acute effects of metformin on adipocyte signalling and endocrine function with robust inhibition of leptin secretion. They suggest a selective molecular mechanism that may contribute to the anorexigenic effect of this antidiabetic compound.

PMID:
15531718
DOI:
10.1677/joe.1.05646
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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