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Mechanisms of Action of Metformin in Type 2 Diabetes and Associated Complications: An Overview

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Type 2 diabetes is a major health problem associated with excess mortality and morbidity. Vascular complications are one of the most serious consequences of this disorder. Moreover, type 2 diabetes is also a risk factor for cerebral complications, including cognitive impairment and dementia. However, it has been shown that tight glycemic control contributes to reduce the incidence of diabetes-associated complications. Metformin is a potent antihyperglycemic agent widely used in the management of type 2 diabetes whose main actions are the suppression of gluconeogenesis and the improvement of glucose uptake and insulin sensitivity. This review is mainly devoted to describe the mechanisms of action underlying the antidiabetic effects of metformin. Furthermore, we will present evidence for the protective effects of metformin against diabetes-associated complications mainly cerebral and vascular complications. Finally, we will describe the few known side effects associated to this antidiabetic agent.

Keywords: AMP-activated protein kinase; brain protection; diabetes-associated complications; hyperglycemia; insulin resistance; metformin; type 2 diabetes; vasculoprotection

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: November 1, 2008

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  • The aim of Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry is to publish short reviews on the important recent developments in medicinal chemistry and allied disciplines.

    The scope of Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry will cover all areas of medicinal chemistry including developments in rational drug design, synthetic chemistry, bioorganic chemistry, high-throughput screening, combinatorial chemistry, drug targets, and natural product research and structure-activity relationship studies.

    Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry is an essential journal for every medicinal and pharmaceutical chemist who wishes to be kept informed and up-to-date with the latest and most important developments.
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