Metformin, a commonly prescribed drug for type 2 diabetes mellitus, has been shown to activate AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). Notably, AMPK activation has recently been observed to be associated with anti-inflammatory responses. Metformin is also reported to elicit anti-inflammatory responses in CD4+ T cells, resulting in improvement in experimental chronic inflammatory diseases, such as systemic lupus erythematosus. To investigate the effect of metformin on inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), we developed a T cell-transfer model of chronic colitis in which SCID mice were injected with CD4+CD45RBhigh T cells to induce colitis. We examined the effects of metformin via in vitro and in vivo experiments on lamina propria (LP) CD4+ T cells. We observed that metformin suppresses the frequency of interferon (IFN) -γ-producing LP CD4+ T cells in vitro, which were regulated by AMPK activation, a process possibly induced by the inhibition of oxidative phosphorylation. Furthermore, we examined the effects of metformin on an in vivo IBD model. Metformin-treated mice showed AMPK activation in LP CD4+ T cells and ameliorated colitis. Our study demonstrates that metformin-induced AMPK activation in mucosal CD4+ T cells contributes to the improvement of IBD by suppressing IFN-γ production. Moreover, our results indicate that AMPK may be a target molecule for the regulation of mucosal immunity and inflammation. Thus, AMPK-activating drugs such as metformin may be potential therapeutic agents for the treatment of IBD.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology