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Xenobiotica. 1994 Jan;24(1):49-57.

Accumulation of metformin by tissues of the normal and diabetic mouse.

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Department of Pharmaceutical and Biological Sciences, Aston University, Birmingham, UK.


1. Tissue accumulation of the antihyperglycaemic agent metformin (dimethylbiguanide) was examined after oral administration to the normal and streptozotocin (STZ) diabetic mouse. 2. Metformin (50 mg/kg body weight containing 14C-metformin 25 microCi/kg body weight), which is stable and not metabolized, resulted in maximum plasma concentrations at 0.5 h which declined to < 5% of maximum by 24 h. Maximum plasma concentrations (mumol/l, mean +/- SE) in the hepatic portal vein (normal 51.7 +/- 5.4, STZ 61.5 +/- 8.0) were higher than in the inferior vena cava (normal 29.0 +/- 2.8, STZ 35.4 +/- 5.9). 3. The greatest accumulation of metformin occurred in tissues of the small intestine, where maximum concentrations were > 1000 mumol/kg wet weight at 0.5-2 h, but declined to < 2% of maximum by 24 h. 4. Stomach, colon, salivary gland, kidney and liver accumulated metformin more than two-fold, and concentrations of the drug in heart and skeletal (gastrocnemius) muscle were greater than plasma concentrations on some occasions up to 8 h. 5. In a separate study, i.v.-administered metformin was selectively accumulated by tissues of the small intestine. Thus, retention of metformin by tissues of the small intestine may represent a deep compartment for the drug.

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