Metformin effect on gut microbiota: insights for HIV-related inflammation

AIDS Res Ther. 2020 Mar 10;17(1):10. doi: 10.1186/s12981-020-00267-2.


The gut microbiota is emerging as a prominent player in maintaining health through several metabolic and immune pathways. Dysregulation of gut microbiota composition, also known as dysbiosis, is involved in the clinical outcome of diabetes, inflammatory bowel diseases, cancer, aging and HIV infection. Gut dysbiosis and inflammation persist in people living with HIV (PLWH) despite receiving antiretroviral therapy, further contributing to non-AIDS comorbidities. Metformin, a widely used antidiabetic agent, has been found to benefit microbiota composition, promote gut barrier integrity and reduce inflammation in human and animal models of diabetes. Inspired by the effect of metformin on diabetes-related gut dysbiosis, we herein critically review the relevance of metformin to control inflammation in PLWH. Metformin may improve gut microbiota composition, in turn reducing inflammation and risk of non-AIDS comorbidities. This review will pave the way towards innovative strategies to counteract dysregulated microbiota and improve the lives of PLWH.

Keywords: Gut permeability; HIV; Inflammation; Metformin; Microbiota.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Diabetes Mellitus / drug therapy
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dysbiosis / etiology*
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / drug effects*
  • HIV Infections / complications*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Inflammation / virology
  • Metformin / adverse effects
  • Metformin / therapeutic use*


  • Metformin