Editors' ChoicePharmacology

Diabetes Drug Treats TB

Science Signaling  25 Nov 2014:
Vol. 7, Issue 353, pp. ec331
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aaa3448

The increasing prevalence of drug-resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) has led to a paradigm shift in the search for new drugs. Rather than targeting the bacterium, researchers are trying to augment the host response. Singhal et al. reported that the FDA-approved drug metformin, which is currently used to treat type 2 diabetes, enhanced the immune response to Mtb infection. They showed in vitro and in vivo in Mtb-infected mice that metformin, which stimulates AMPK (adenosine monophosphate–activated protein kinase), reduced growth of Mtb by promoting the innate immune response of infected cells. Indeed, in human diabetic patients infected with Mtb, metformin treatment was associated with improved control of infection and decreased disease severity. These data suggest that metformin could be used as adjuvant therapy to treat Mtb infection.

A. Singhal, L. Jie, P. Kumar, G. S. Hong, M. K.-S. Leow, B. Paleja, L. Tsenova, N. Kurepina, J. Chen, F. Zolezzi, B. Kreiswirth, M. Poidinger, C. Chee, G. Kaplan, Y. T. Wang, G. De Libero, Metformin as adjunct antituberculosis therapy. Sci. Transl. Med. 6, 263ra159 (2014). [PubMed]

M. Maeurer, A. Zumla, The host battles drug-resistant tuberculosis. Sci. Transl. Med. 6, 263fs47 (2014). [PubMed]