Metformin activates type I interferon signaling against HCV via activation of adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase.

PMID 29190886


Activation of the type I interferon (IFN) signaling pathway is essential for the eradication of hepatitis C virus (HCV). Metformin can activate adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) to reduce insulin resistance. Cross talks between AMPK and IFN signaling remain unclear. To understand the influence of metformin on the type I IFN signaling pathway and HCV infection, the full-length HCV replicon OR6 cells and the infectious HCV clones JFH1 were used to assess the anti-HCV effect of the insulin sensitizers, metformin and pioglitazone. Immunofluorescence staining and the immunoblotting of HCV viral protein demonstrated that metformin, but not pioglitazone, inhibited HCV replication in OR-6 and JFH-1-infected Huh 7.5.1 cells. Immunoblotting data showed that metformin activated the phosphorylation of STAT-1 and STAT-2 in OR-6 and JFH-1 infected Huh 7.5.1 cells. Metformin enhanced the phosphorylation of AMPK, and the metformin-activated IFN signaling was down-regulated by AMPK inhibitor. After treatment of AMPK inhibitor, the level of HCV core protein decreased by metformin can be rescued. In conclusion, metformin activates type I interferon signaling and inhibits the replication of HCV via activation of AMPK.

Related Materials