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      Effects of acarbose and metformin on the inflammatory state in newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes patients: a one-year randomized clinical study

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          This study aimed to investigate the changes in inflammatory biomarkers between newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes (T2DM) patients under one-year acarbose treatments and those under metformin managements.


          Seventy patients with newly diagnosed T2DM and 32 volunteers with normal glucose tolerance (normal controls, NCs) were enrolled. Seventy patients with T2DM were randomly assigned to two subgroups and treated with acarbose (n=34) or metformin (n=36) for 1 year. Blood glucose, insulin, glycosylated hemoglobin (A1C), triglyceride (TG), total cholesterol (TC), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), and inflammatory biomarker levels (interleukin-6 (IL-6), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin-1β (IL-1β), interleukin-2 (IL-2), and ferritin) were detected at 0, 6 and 12 months.


          After adjusting for sex, the waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) and body mass index (BMI), higher fasting plasma glucose (FPG), standard meal test 1/2 hr and 2 hr glucose, TG, TC, LDL-C, IL-6, TNF-α, IL-2 and ferritin levels were observed in T2DM group than in NCs ( P<0.05). After 6 months of treatment, TNF-α levels were significantly decreased in both subgroups, and IL-6 and ferritin levels were significantly decreased after 12 months ( P<0.05). However, no significant differences in the IL-6, TNF-α and ferritin levels were observed between the two subgroups. Moreover, significantly higher IL-6 and TNF-α levels were detected in the T2DM group than in NCs after 12 months of treatment ( P<0.05).


          Patients with newly diagnosed T2DM exhibited a marked chronic inflammatory state characterized by increased IL-6, TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-2 and ferritin levels. After 1 year of treatment with acarbose or metformin, IL-6, TNF-α, IL-1β and ferritin levels were significantly decreased compared with the baseline. The anti-inflammatory effects of acarbose and metformin were comparable and required a long-term treatment (1 year), but the characteristics were different. Further investigations are needed to determine whether this effect was independent of the hypoglycemic effects.

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          Most cited references 28

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          Metformin and Inflammation: Its Potential Beyond Glucose-lowering Effect.

          Metformin is an oral hypoglycemic agent which is most widely used as first-line therapy for type 2 diabetes. Metformin improves hyperglycemia by suppressing hepatic glucose production and increasing glucose uptake in muscle. Metformin also has been shown to reduce cardiovascular events in randomized controlled trials; however, the underlying mechanism remains to be established. Recent preclinical and clinical studies have suggested that metformin not only improves chronic inflammation through the improvement of metabolic parameters such as hyperglycemia, insulin resistance and atherogenic dyslipidemia, but also has a direct anti-inflammatory action. Studies have suggested that metformin suppresses inflammatory response by inhibition of nuclear factor κB (NFκB) via AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK)-dependent and independent pathways. This review summarizes the basic and clinical evidence of the anti-inflammatory action of metformin and discusses its clinical implication.
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            Long-term effects of metformin on endothelial function in type 2 diabetes: a randomized controlled trial.

            We investigated whether metformin can improve endothelial function and decrease inflammatory activity, and thereby decrease the risk of atherothrombotic disease. A randomized, placebo-controlled trial with a follow-up period of 4.3 years set in the outpatient clinics of three nonacademic hospitals (Hoogeveen, Meppel and Coevorden Hospitals, the Netherlands). A total of 390 patients with type 2 diabetes treated with insulin were included. Either metformin 850 mg or placebo (one to three times daily) was added to insulin therapy. Urinary albumin excretion and plasma levels of von Willebrand factor (vWf), soluble vascular adhesion molecule-1 (sVCAM-1), soluble E-selectin (sE-selectin), tissue-type plasminogen activator (t-PA), plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1), C-reactive protein (CRP) and soluble intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (sICAM-1) were measured at baseline and after 4, 17, 30, 43 and 52 months. Metformin significantly reduced levels of vWF, sVCAM-1, t-PA, PAI-1, CRP and sICAM-1, which, except for CRP, remained significant after adjustment for baseline differences in age, sex, smoking and severity of previous cardiovascular (CV) disease. No effects on urinary albumin excretion or sE-selectin were observed. The improvements in vWf and sVCAM-1 statistically explained about 34% of the reduction in the risk of CV morbidity and mortality associated with metformin treatment in this study. Metformin is associated with improvement in some (vWF and sVCAM-1) but not all markers of endothelial function, which may explain why it is associated with a decreased risk of CV disease in type 2 diabetes. © 2013 The Association for the Publication of the Journal of Internal Medicine.
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              Hypoglycemic agents and potential anti-inflammatory activity

              Current literature shows an association of diabetes and secondary complications with chronic inflammation. Evidence of these immunological changes include altered levels of cytokines and chemokines, changes in the numbers and activation states of various leukocyte populations, apoptosis, and fibrosis during diabetes. Therefore, treatment of diabetes and its complications may include pharmacological strategies to reduce inflammation. Apart from anti-inflammatory drugs, various hypoglycemic agents have also been found to reduce inflammation that could contribute to improved outcomes. Extensive studies have been carried out with thiazolidinediones (peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ agonist), dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors, and metformin (AMP-activated protein kinase activator) with each of these classes of compounds showing moderate-to-strong anti-inflammatory action. Sulfonylureas and alpha glucosidase inhibitors appeared to exert modest effects, while the injectable agents, insulin and glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists, may improve secondary complications due to their anti-inflammatory potential. Currently, there is a lack of clinical data on anti-inflammatory effects of sodium–glucose cotransporter type 2 inhibitors. Nevertheless, for all these glucose-lowering agents, it is essential to distinguish between anti-inflammatory effects resulting from better glucose control and effects related to intrinsic anti-inflammatory actions of the pharmacological class of compounds.

                Author and article information

                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                09 August 2019
                : 13
                : 2769-2776
                [1 ]Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, West China Hospital of Sichuan University , Chengdu 610041, People’s Republic of China
                [2 ]Laboratory of Endocrinology and Metabolism, West China Hospital of Sichuan University , Chengdu 610041, People’s Republic of China
                [3 ]Department of Bioengineering, Bourns College of Engineering, University of California , Riverside, CA 92521, USA
                [4 ]West China Hospital-California Multiomics Research Center, Key Laboratory of Transplant Engineering and Immunology, National Health Commission of PRC, West China Hospital, Sichuan University , Chengdu, Sichuan, People’s Republic of China
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Yan RenDivision of Endocrinology and Metabolism, West China Hospital of Sichuan University , No.37 Guoxue Alley, Wuhou District, Chengdu610041, People’s Republic of ChinaEmail renyan@scu.edu.cn
                © 2019 Mo et al.

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                Page count
                Tables: 5, References: 38, Pages: 8
                Original Research


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