People with diabetes are no strangers to “Metformin,” which is currently the “star” drug for the treatment of diabetes worldwide. However, the mechanism of action of this drug in lowering blood sugar has always been a scientific mystery.
Recently, a research team of Professor Lin Shengcai of the School of Life Sciences at Xiamen University solved one of the mysteries and solved the problem that the scientific community had only known for a long time but did not know why. The research provides new targets and directions for the development of drugs for type II diabetes, fatty liver, cardiovascular disease, cancer and other diseases.
The study was published in the cell “Cell-metabolism,” a subtitle entitled “Metformin activates the protein kinase AMPK through the lysosomal pathway.”
According to reports, metformin was born in Europe in the 1920s of the last century and is an old drug for nearly a hundred years. Since its inception, it has become a trump card in the field of diabetes treatment with clinical excellence: it is effective in reducing blood sugar in diabetics, but it will not cause side effects such as hypoglycemia and acidosis, and it can also relieve fatty liver. Improve insulin sensitivity, improve cardiovascular function, and reduce the risk of patients suffering from certain cancers (such as liver cancer and pancreatic cancer).
Lin Shengcai said, however, that in the past 100 years, people know that metformin can lower blood sugar, but its mechanism of action has not been made clear. Earlier, there were sporadic reports in the scientific community, but there was no scientific evidence.
Professor Lin Shengcai’s research group has long been devoted to the study of cell signal transduction. In a recent study, they unexpectedly discovered that the signaling pathway of metformin’s hypoglycemic mechanism turned out to be an “old friend” of his own, the AMPK signal pathway.
Lin Shengcai said that AMPK protein kinase is an important molecule in cells that regulates various metabolic pathways and maintains energy balance. Many of the efficacy of metformin is achieved through the activation of AMPK. They found that metformin initiated a series of intracellular molecular aggregations, interactions, and structural changes through a protein complex called “v-ATPase” in the body of AMPK to activate the AMPK signaling pathway.
Interestingly, in addition to activating AMPK, the research group also found that another important function of metformin is to inhibit another signal pathway known as mTOR, which is closely related to cell proliferation, and the inhibition of this pathway is likely to reduce the risk of The risk of cancer is related to the “two birds with one stone” effect.