JUN 05, 2019 10:25 AM PDT

Anti-Diabetic Drug Reduces Anxiety-Like Symptoms

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

In a study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, an antidiabetic drug called metformin was found to alleviate anxiety-like behavioral symptoms in male mice.

The paper ‘Metformin promotes anxiolytic and antidepressant-like responses in insulin-resistant mice by decreasing circulating branched-chain amino acids’ found that beyond its clinical relevance in diabetes—metformin increased serotonin availability in the brain. It’s important to note that metformin is a medication often prescribed to treat high blood sugar by reducing glucose production in the liver and increasing insulin sensitivity.

The present study demonstrated that the insulin-sensitizing drug metformin administered to mice on a high fat diet has reduced the levels of amino acids that impair tryptophan entry into the brain. Tryptophan is a precursor molecule that is converted to serotonin.

The antidepressant-like effects of the medication was accompanied by an improved neurotransmission in the hippocampus. Similar effects were achieved upon the reduction of the so-called branched chained amino acids in the diet.

Individuals with diabetes are often prone to mood disorders most commonly depression. Despite the mechanisms underlying the relationship remain unknown, some studies suggest that the precursor to diabetes –insulin resistance and its connection to depression may be pinpointed to a strong culprit, the neurotransmitter serotonin.

The increase of serotonin along with the reduction in anxiety-like behaviors are findings that can implicate treatments for patients with both metabolic and mental disorders.

Source: Science Daily

About the Author
  • Nouran is a scientist, educator, and life-long learner with a passion for making science more communicable. When not busy in the lab isolating blood macrophages, she enjoys writing on various STEM topics.
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