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Metformin increases APP expression and processing via oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction and NF-κB activation: Use of insulin to attenuate metformin's effect.

  • Autori: Picone, P.; Nuzzo, D.; Caruana, L.; Messina, E.; Barera, A.; Vasto, S.; Di Carlo, M.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2015
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista (Articolo in rivista)
  • OA Link:


Clinical and experimental biomedical studies have shown Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) to be a risk factor for the development of Alzheimer's disease (AD). This study demonstrates the effect of metformin, a therapeutic biguanide administered for T2DM therapy, on β-amyloid precursor protein (APP) metabolism in in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo models. Furthermore, the protective role of insulin against metformin is also demonstrated. In LAN5 neuroblastoma cells, metformin increases APP and presenilin levels, proteins involved in AD. Overexpression of APP and presenilin 1 (Pres 1) increases APP cleavage and intracellular accumulation of β-amyloid peptide (Aβ), which, in turn, promotes aggregation of Aβ. In the experimental conditions utilized the drug causes oxidative stress, mitochondrial damage, decrease of Hexokinase-II levels and cytochrome C release, all of which lead to cell death. Several changes in oxidative stress-related genes following metformin treatment were detected by PCR arrays specific for the oxidative stress pathway. These effects of metformin were found to be antagonized by the addition of insulin, which reduced Aβ levels, oxidative stress, mitochondrial dysfunction and cell death. Similarly, antioxidant molecules, such as ferulic acid and curcumin, are able to revert metformin's effect. Comparable results were obtained using peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Finally, the involvement of NF-κB transcription factor in regulating APP and Pres 1 expression was investigated. Upon metformin treatment, NF-κB is activated and translocates from the cytoplasm to the nucleus, where it induces increased APP and Pres 1 transcription. The use of Bay11-7085 inhibitor suppressed the effect of metformin on APP and Pres 1 expression.