Skeletal muscle adaptations to exercise are not influenced by metformin treatment in humans: secondary analyses of 2 randomised, clinical trials

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Metformin and exercise both improve glycemic control, but in vitro studies have indicated that an interaction between metformin and exercise occurs in skeletal muscle, suggesting a blunting effect of metformin on exercise training adaptations. Two studies (a double-blind, parallel-group, randomized clinical trial conducted in 29 glucose-intolerant individuals and a double-blind, cross-over trial conducted in 15 healthy lean males) were included in this paper. In both studies, the effect of acute exercise ± metformin treatment on different skeletal muscle variables, previously suggested to be involved in a pharmaco-physiological interaction between metformin and exercise, was assessed. Furthermore, in the parallel-group trial, the effect of 12 weeks of exercise training was assessed. Skeletal muscle biopsies were obtained before and after acute exercise and 12 weeks of exercise training, and mitochondrial respiration, oxidative stress and AMPK activation was determined. Metformin did not significantly affect the effects of acute exercise or exercise training on mitochondrial respiration, oxidative stress or AMPK activation, indicating that the response to acute exercise and exercise training adaptations in skeletal muscle is not affected by metformin treatment. Further studies are needed to investigate whether an interaction between metformin and exercise is present in other tissues, e.g. the gut. 

Trial registration: (NCT03316690 and NCT02951260). 

Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)309-320
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2022

    Research areas

  • Faculty of Science - Exercise, Impaired glucose tolerance, Prediabetes, Healthy lean males, Interaction, Metformin, Training, Skeletal muscle, AMPK, ROS, Complex-1

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