Sustained influence of metformin therapy on circulating glucagon-like peptide-1 levels in individuals with and without type 2 diabetes.
Preiss D., Dawed A., Welsh P., Heggie A., Jones AG., Dekker J., Koivula R., Hansen TH., Stewart C., Holman RR., Franks PW., Walker M., Pearson ER., Sattar N., DIRECT consortium group None.
AIMS: To investigate, in the Carotid Atherosclerosis: Metformin for Insulin Resistance (CAMERA) trial (NCT00723307), whether the influence of metformin on the glucagon-like peptide (GLP)-1 axis in individuals with and without type 2 diabetes (T2DM) is sustained and related to changes in glycaemia or weight, and to investigate basal and post-meal GLP-1 levels in patients with T2DM in the cross-sectional Diabetes Research on Patient Stratification (DIRECT) study. MATERIALS AND METHODS: CAMERA was a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled trial of metformin in 173 participants without diabetes. Using 6-monthly fasted total GLP-1 levels over 18 months, we evaluated metformin's effect on total GLP-1 with repeated-measures analysis and analysis of covariance. In the DIRECT study, we examined active and total fasting and 60-minute post-meal GLP-1 levels in 775 people recently diagnosed with T2DM treated with metformin or diet, using Student's t-tests and linear regression. RESULTS: In CAMERA, metformin increased total GLP-1 at 6 (+20.7%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 4.7-39.0), 12 (+26.7%, 95% CI 10.3-45.6) and 18 months (+18.7%, 95% CI 3.8-35.7), an overall increase of 23.4% (95% CI 11.2-36.9; P < .0001) vs placebo. Adjustment for changes in glycaemia and adiposity, individually or combined, did not attenuate this effect. In the DIRECT study, metformin was associated with higher fasting active (39.1%, 95% CI 21.3-56.4) and total GLP-1 (14.1%, 95% CI 1.2-25.9) but not post-meal incremental GLP-1. These changes were independent of potential confounders including age, sex, adiposity and glycated haemoglobin. CONCLUSIONS: In people without diabetes, metformin increases total GLP-1 in a sustained manner and independently of changes in weight or glycaemia. Metformin-treated patients with T2DM also have higher fasted GLP-1 levels, independently of weight and glycaemia.