Effect of metformin and flutamide on insulin, lipogenic and androgen-estrogen signaling, and cardiometabolic risk in a PCOS-prone metabolic syndrome rodent model

M. Kupreeva, Abdoulaye Diane, R. Lehner, R. Watts, M. Ghosh, S. Proctor, D. Vine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is highly associated with cardiometabolic risk and the metabolic syndrome (MetS), predisposing women to increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Metformin is commonly used to treat insulin resistance-glucose intolerance, and flutamide, an androgen receptor (AR) antagonist, is used to target hyperandrogenemia and dyslipidemia. Currently, the physiological mechanism of action of these treatments on androgen, lipidogenic, and insulin signaling pathways remains unclear in PCOS. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects and mechanisms of action of metformin and flutamide on plasma lipid-apolipoprotein (Apo)B-lipoprotein and insulin-glucose metabolism, and endocrine-reproductive indices in a PCOS-prone MetS rodent model. PCOS-prone rodents were treated with metformin (300 mg/kg body wt), flutamide (30 mg/kg body wt), or metformin + flutamide combination treatment for 6 wk. Metformin was shown to improve fasting insulin and HOMA-IR, whereas flutamide and combination treatment were shown to reduce plasma triglycerides, ApoB48, and ApoB100, and this was associated with decreased intestinal secretion of ApoB48/triglyceride. Flutamide and metformin were shown to reduce plasma androgen indices and to improve ovarian primary and preovulatory follicle frequency. Metformin treatment increased hepatic estrogen receptor (ER)α, and metformin-flutamide decreased intestinal AR and increased ERα mRNA expression. Metformin-flutamide treatment upregulated hepatic and intestinal insulin signaling, including insulin receptor, MAPK1, and AKT2. In conclusion, cardiometabolic risk factors, in particular ApoB-hypertriglyceridemia, are independently modulated via the AR, and understanding the contribution of AR and insulin-signaling pathways further may facilitate the development of targeted interventions in high-risk women with PCOS and MetS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E16-E33
JournalAmerican journal of physiology. Endocrinology and metabolism
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019



  • flutamide
  • lipid and insulin metabolism
  • metformin
  • PCOS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

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