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Journal Articles Frontiers in Endocrinology Year : 2019

Role of Mitochondria in the Mechanism(s) of Action of Metformin


Metformin is a drug from the biguanide family that is used for decades as the first-line therapeutic choice for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Despite its worldwide democratization, owing to its clinical efficacy, high safety profile and cheap cost, the exact mechanism(s) of action of this anti-hyperglycemic molecule with pleiotropic properties still remains to be fully elucidated. The concept that metformin would exert some of its actions though modulation of the mitochondrial bioenergetics was initially forged in the 50s but undeniably revived at the beginning of the twenty-first century when it was shown to induce a weak but specific inhibition of the mitochondrial respiratory-chain complex 1. Furthermore, metformin has been reported to reduce generation of reactive oxygen species at the complex 1 and to prevent mitochondrial-mediated apoptosis, suggesting that it can protect against oxidative stress-induced cell death. Nevertheless, despite some recent progress and the demonstration of its key role in the inhibition of hepatic gluconeogenesis, the exact nature of the mitochondrial interaction between the drug and the complex 1 is still poorly characterized. Recent studies reported that metformin may also have anti-neoplastic properties by inhibiting cancer cell growth and proliferation, at least partly through its mitochondrial action. As such, many trials are currently conducted for exploring the repositioning of metformin as a potential drug for cancer therapy. In this mini-review, we discuss both historical and more recent findings on the central role played by the interaction between metformin and the mitochondria in its cellular mechanism of action.
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inserm-03666149 , version 1 (12-05-2022)



Guillaume Vial, Dominique Detaille, Bruno Guigas. Role of Mitochondria in the Mechanism(s) of Action of Metformin. Frontiers in Endocrinology, 2019, 10, pp.294. ⟨10.3389/fendo.2019.00294⟩. ⟨inserm-03666149⟩


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