Metformin has been extensively used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, and it may also promote healthy aging.
Despite its widespread use and versatility, metformin's mechanisms of action remain elusive. The gut typically harbors thousands of bacterial species, and as the concentration of metformin is much higher in the gut as compared to plasma, it is plausible that microbiome-drug-host interactions may influence the functions of metformin.
Detrimental perturbations in the aging gut microbiome lead to the activation of the innate immune response concomitant with chronic low-grade inflammation. With the effectiveness of metformin in diabetes and antiaging varying among individuals, there is reason to believe that the gut microbiome plays a role in the efficacy of metformin.
Metformin has been implicated in the promotion and maintenance of a healthy gut microbiome and reduces many age-related degenerative pathologies. Mechanistic understanding of metformin in the promotion of a healthy gut microbiome and aging will require a systems-level approach.
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Published: January 2022
Annual Review of Pharmacology and Toxicology; DOI: https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-pharmtox-051920-093829