The Effects of Metformin on Obesity-Induced Dysfunctional Retinas. Academic Article uri icon


  • PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of metformin on dysfunctional retinas in obesity-induced type 2 diabetic mice. METHODS: A high-fat diet (HFD)-induced diabetic mouse model (C57BL/6J) was used in this study. After 2 months of the HFD regimen, HFD mice were given daily metformin through oral gavage. Body weights, glucose tolerance, and retinal light responses were monitored regularly. Fluorescein angiography (FA) was used to assess changes in retinal vasculature. Ocular tissues (retina, vitreous, and lens) were harvested and analyzed for molecular changes as determined by immunofluorescent staining, Western blot analysis, and cytokine profiling. RESULTS: Starting 1 month after the diet regimen, mice fed the HFD had mildly compromised retinal light responses as measured by electroretinography (ERG), which worsened over time compared to that in the control. In HFD mice treated with metformin, systemic glucose levels reverted back to normal, and their weight gain slowed. Metformin reversed HFD-induced changes in phosphorylated protein kinase B (pAKT), extracellular signal-regulated kinase (pERK), and 5'AMP-activated protein kinase (pAMPK) in the retina. However, metformin treatments for 3 months did not restore the retinal light responses nor lessen the HFD-induced retinal neovascularization, even though it did reduce intraocular inflammation. CONCLUSIONS: Although metformin was able to reverse systemic changes induced by HFD, it was not able to restore HFD-caused retinal light responses or deter neovascularization.

published proceedings

  • Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci

author list (cited authors)

  • Kim, A. J., Chang, J., Shi, L., Chang, R., Ko, M. L., & Ko, G.

citation count

  • 24

complete list of authors

  • Kim, Andy Jeesu||Chang, Janet Ya-An||Shi, Liheng||Chang, Richard Cheng-An||Ko, Michael Lee||Ko, Gladys Yi-Ping

publication date

  • January 2017