Importance of the intestine as a site of metformin-stimulated glucose utilization

Br J Pharmacol. 1994 Jun;112(2):671-5. doi: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.1994.tb13128.x.


1. The intestine has been implicated as a site of increased glucose utilization by the antihyperglycaemic drug, metformin. This study makes a quantitative assessment of this effect. 2. Glucose utilization by the intestine and hind limb region was determined by arterial-venous glucose difference adjusted for blood flow rate in fasted rats receiving a hyperglycaemic hyperinsulinaemic infusion. 3. Intrajejunal administration of metformin, 250 mg kg-1, increased glucose disposal during the infusion procedure, associated with increased glucose utilization in the intestine by 69% and in the hind limb region by 40%. 4. Metformin, 250 mg kg-1, increased glucose disappearance during an intravenous glucose tolerance test. This was accompanied by increased uptake of tritiated 2-deoxy-D-glucose into the intestinal mucosa to a greater extent than into skeletal muscles (per unit wet weight of tissue). 5. The results demonstrate that the intestinal mucosa is a quantitatively important site of increased glucose utilization during the blood glucose-lowering effect of metformin.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Deoxyglucose / metabolism
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Glucose / pharmacology
  • Insulin / pharmacology
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism*
  • Intestines / blood supply
  • Male
  • Metformin / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Regional Blood Flow / drug effects
  • Stimulation, Chemical


  • Insulin
  • Metformin
  • Deoxyglucose
  • Glucose