Metformin action on AMP-activated protein kinase: a translational research approach to understanding a potential new therapeutic target

Diabet Med. 2010 Oct;27(10):1097-106. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-5491.2010.03098.x.


Clinical studies in Type 2 diabetes mellitus have shown that the effects of metformin go beyond improving HbA(1c) and include reductions in cardiovascular endpoints. Metformin therapy has been widely used in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes for many years, yet the precise mode of action remains uncertain. It has recently been proposed that metformin-mediated stimulation of hepatic AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) underlies the hypoglycaemic effects of metformin. AMPK is a heterotrimeric enzyme that is expressed in many tissues and plays a central role in the regulation of energy homoeostasis. Furthermore, there is increasing evidence that AMPK is implicated in the pathophysiology of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. The generation of more specific and potent activators of AMPK, however, could have additional metabolic and vascular benefits for patients with Type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases / drug effects*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Metformin / pharmacology*
  • Metformin / therapeutic use
  • Translational Research, Biomedical


  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Metformin
  • AMP-Activated Protein Kinases