, Volume 63, Issue 12, pp 1107-1114
Date: 15 Sep 2007

Oxidative stress and endothelium influenced by metformin in type 2 diabetes mellitus

Rent the article at a discount

Rent now

* Final gross prices may vary according to local VAT.

Get Access



Metformin may influence atherogenesis but the mechanisms are not well understood. A pilot study was undertaken to determine whether metformin administration is associated with changes in oxidative stress and endothelial function.


Fifteen type 2 diabetic patients were treated for 3 months with metformin (1,700 mg daily) or with a placebo in a crossover study. Laboratory parameters of oxidative stress, fibrinolysis and endothelial function were evaluated both prior to and following the respective treatments. In addition, laser Doppler was used to determine microcirculation changes in the skin.


Increases in serum N-acetyl-β-glucosaminidase activity (p < 0.05) and plasma malondialdehyde concentration were found following 1 month of metformin administration. Three months of treatment was accompanied by significantly increased plasma malondialdehyde (p < 0.001) and ascorbic acid (p < 0.01) concentrations as well as the alpha-tocopherol/(cholesterol + triglyceride) ratio (p < 0.001). The concentration of tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), vascular cell-adhesion molecules (VCAM) and intercellular cell-adhesion molecules (ICAM) were significantly decreased (p < 0.01) compared with placebo. Microcirculation measured by laser Doppler flowmetry was not significantly changed.


We conclude that initiation of metformin treatment in type 2 diabetic patients is associated with improved diabetes control as well as with activation of oxidative stress together with antioxidant system. The atherogenic process measured by biochemical indicators is diminished in parallel. Our results show that in short-term metformin administration in type 2 diabetes promotes endothelium effects associated with a complex of metabolic changes.