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Efficacy of metformin targets on cardiometabolic health in the general population and non-diabetic individuals: a Mendelian randomization study.

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Xu, Min 
Hu, Chunyan 
Walker, Venexia 


BACKGROUND: Metformin shows beneficial effects on cardiometabolic health in diabetic individuals. However, the beneficial effects in the general population, especially in non-diabetic individuals are unclear. We aim to estimate the effects of perturbation of seven metformin targets on cardiometabolic health using Mendelian randomization (MR). METHODS: Genetic variants close to metformin-targeted genes associated with expression of the corresponding genes and glycated haemoglobin (HbA1c) level were used to proxy therapeutic effects of seven metformin-related drug targets. Eight cardiometabolic phenotypes under metformin trials were selected as outcomes (average N = 466,947). MR estimates representing the weighted average effects of the seven effects of metformin targets on the eight outcomes were generated. One-sample MR was applied to estimate the averaged and target-specific effects in 338,425 non-diabetic individuals in UK Biobank. FINDINGS: Genetically proxied averaged effects of five metformin targets, equivalent to a 0.62% reduction of HbA1c level, was associated with 37.8% lower risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) (odds ratio [OR] = 0.62, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.46-0.84), lower levels of body mass index (BMI) (β = -0.22, 95% CI = -0.35 to -0.09), systolic blood pressure (SBP) (β = -0.19, 95% CI = -0.28 to -0.09) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) levels (β = -0.29, 95% CI = -0.39 to -0.19). One-sample MR suggested that the seven metformin targets showed averaged and target-specific beneficial effects on BMI, SBP and DBP in non-diabetic individuals. INTERPRETATION: This study showed that perturbation of seven metformin targets has beneficial effects on BMI and blood pressure in non-diabetic individuals. Clinical trials are needed to investigate whether similar effects can be achieved with metformin medications. FUNDING: Funding information is provided in the Acknowledgements.



Cardiometabolic diseases, General population, Mendelian randomization, Metformin targets, Non-diabetic individuals, Humans, Metformin, Mendelian Randomization Analysis, Risk, Coronary Artery Disease, Genome-Wide Association Study, Diabetes Mellitus, Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide

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Elsevier BV
Wellcome Trust (225790/Z/22/Z)
MRC (via University College London (UCL)) (MC_PC_20059)
Wellcome Trust (100114/Z/12/Z)
Wellcome Trust (204623/Z/16/Z)
Medical Research Council (MC_UU_00002/7)