Background: Metformin treatment has beneficial effects on both glucose and lipid metabolism.
Whereas there is general agreement that the blood glucose lowering effect of metformin
results from inhibition of hepatic gluconeogenesis, it is less clear exactly how the drug
lowers blood triglyceride concentration. There are indications that it enhances hepatic free
fatty acid (FFA) oxidation thus diminishing substrate for reesterification and resecretion as
very-low-density-lipoprotein (VLDL) triglycerides (TG). However, the liver is not easily
accessible for sampling in humans and data on the clinical effects of metformin in the liver
are therefore lacking. This may change due to the increasing use of the positron emission
tomography (PET) technique. Using PET isotopes (11C or 18F) coupled to either palmitate or a
fatty acid analogue, it is possible to non-invasively measure hepatic fatty acid handling.
Aim: To determine how 3 months metformin treatment (1000 mg twice daily) affects hepatic
lipid and glucose metabolism in patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes.
Design: Randomized, placebo controlled, double-blind parallel study with patients receiving
either metformin or placebo. A control group of BMI and age-matched non-diabetic individuals
will receive metformin for 3 months.
Hypothesis: Metformin lowers VLDL-TG secretion and circulating triglycerides by increasing
hepatic fatty acid oxidation