AIMS: To test the hypothesis that brown adipose tissue (BAT) is a metformin target tissue by investigating in vivo uptake of [11 C]-metformin tracer in mice and studying in vitro effects of metformin on cultured human brown adipocytes.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Tissue-specific uptake of metformin was assessed in mice by PET/CT imaging after injection of [11 C]-metformin. Human brown adipose tissue was obtained from elective neck surgery and metformin transporter expression levels in human and murine BAT were determined by qPCR. Oxygen consumption in metformin-treated human brown adipocyte cell models was assessed by Seahorse XF technology.
RESULTS: Injected [11 C]-metformin showed avid uptake in the murine interscapular BAT depot. Metformin exposure in BAT was similar to hepatic exposure. Non-specific inhibition of the organic cation transporter (OCT) protein by cimetidine administration eliminated BAT exposure to metformin, demonstrating OCT-mediated uptake. Gene expression profiles of OCTs in BAT revealed ample OCT3 expression in both human and mouse BAT. Incubation of a human brown adipocyte cell models with metformin reduced cellular oxygen consumption in a dose-dependent manner.
CONCLUSION: These results support BAT as a putative metformin target.
- antidiabetic drug
- drug mechanism
- type 2 diabetes