Send to

Choose Destination
Int J Cardiol. 2009 May 15;134(2):169-75. doi: 10.1016/j.ijcard.2008.04.010. Epub 2008 Jul 1.

Metformin inhibits TNF-alpha-induced IkappaB kinase phosphorylation, IkappaB-alpha degradation and IL-6 production in endothelial cells through PI3K-dependent AMPK phosphorylation.

Author information

Institute of Pharmacology, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan.



Metformin has been reported to reduce cardiovascular complications in diabetic patients. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the anti-inflammatory effects of metformin on endothelial cells and the related molecular mechanisms.


Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) were used for the experiments. The effects of metformin on TNF-alpha-induced IL-6 production were investigated. Modulation of AMPK and related signal transduction pathways were also performed.


TNF-alpha increased IL-6 secretion by HUVEC in a dose-dependent manner but inhibitors of NF-kappaB abolished the TNF-alpha-induced IL-6 production. Pre-treatment with metformin (100-1000 micromol/L) also inhibited TNF-alpha-induced IL-6 production, phosphorylation of IkappaB kinase (IKK) alpha/beta and IkappaB-alpha degradation. Metformin increased phosphorylation of AMP-activated kinase (AMPK) but wortmannin, a PI3K inhibitor, negated its effects on AMPK phosphorylation and TNF-alpha-induced IkappaB-alpha degradation. AICAR, a direct AMPK activator, had inhibitory effects on TNF-alpha-induced IL-6 production, similar to that of metformin. Transfection of siRNA against alpha1-AMPK eradicated the inhibitory effects of metformin on TNF-alpha-induced IL-6, implying the essential role of AMPK.


Metformin had anti-inflammatory effects on endothelial cells and inhibited TNF-alpha-induced IKKalpha/beta phosphorylation, IkappaB-alpha degradation and IL-6 production in HUVEC. This effect was related to PI3K-dependent AMPK phosphorylation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center