August 10 2015. The October 2015 issue of the American Diabetes Association journal Diabetes Care featured an article which reveals a reduction in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels among users of metformin, a commonly used antidiabetic drug that has been associated with other health benefits.
Rui Wang-Sattler of Helmholtz Zentrum München and colleagues utilized fasting serum samples collected from over 1,800 subjects, including 151 type 2 diabetics treated with metformin, enrolled in the Health Research in the Region of Augsburg (KORA) cohort. The current study evaluated genetic factors and 131 metabolites, as well as serum lipids.
In association with a decline in three metabolites, the researchers observed a relationship between metformin use and lower LDL cholesterol in type 2 diabetics treated with the drug in comparison with subjects who were not using oral glucose-lowering medications. “We speculate that metformin intake affects the levels of LDL cholesterol via AMPK, leading to a down-regulation of the genes FADS1 and 2,” stated Dr Wang-Sattler, of the Research Unit of Molecular Epidemiology at the Institute of Epidemiology II of the Helmholtz Zentrum München. “This is also supported by the fact that three lipid metabolites, which are dependent on FADS, are decreased. Presumably, this is the mechanism how the production of LDL cholesterol is repressed by metformin.”
“Our study suggests that metformin might indeed have an additional beneficial effect with regards to cardiovascular diseases among the diabetes patients,” first author Tao Xu concluded.
“Until now the exact mechanism is unclear,” co-first author Stefan Brandmaier added. “Thus, we want to continue our contribution to its decryption.”