Neurochemical Research

, Volume 44, Issue 1, pp 188–199 | Cite as

Metformin Accelerates Glycolytic Lactate Production in Cultured Primary Cerebellar Granule Neurons

  • Eva-Maria Blumrich
  • Ralf DringenEmail author
Original Paper


Metformin is the most frequently used drug for the treatment of type-II diabetes. As metformin has been reported to cross the blood–brain barrier, brain cells will encounter this drug. To test whether metformin may affect the metabolism of neurons, we exposed cultured rat cerebellar granule neurons to metformin. Treatment with metformin caused a time- and concentration-dependent increase in glycolytic lactate release from viable neurons as demonstrated by the three-to fivefold increase in extracellular lactate concentration determined after exposure to metformin. Half-maximal stimulation of lactate production was found after incubation of neurons for 4 h with around 2 mM or for 24 h with around 0.5 mM metformin. Neuronal cell viability was not affected by millimolar concentrations of metformin during acute incubations in the hour range nor during prolonged incubations, although alterations in cell morphology were observed during treatment with 10 mM metformin for days. The acute stimulation of neuronal lactate release by metformin was persistent upon removal of metformin from the medium and was not affected by the presence of modulators of adenosine monophosphate activated kinase activity. In contrast, rabeprazole, an inhibitor of the organic cation transporter 3, completely prevented metformin-mediated stimulation of neuronal lactate production. In summary, the data presented identify metformin as a potent stimulator of glycolytic lactate production in viable cultured neurons and suggest that organic cation transporter 3 mediates the uptake of metformin into neurons.


Glycolysis Lactate Metformin Neurons 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflict of interest to declare.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Biomolecular Interactions Bremen, Faculty 2 (Biology/Chemistry)University of BremenBremenGermany
  2. 2.Centre for Environmental Research and Sustainable TechnologyUniversity of BremenBremenGermany

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