MicroRNAs Associated with Metformin Treatment in the Diabetes Prevention Program

Kimberly A. Lewis, Benjamin M. Stroebel, Li Zhang, Bradley Aouizerat, Aras N. Mattis, Elena Flowers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) randomized controlled trial demonstrated that metformin treatment reduced progression to type 2 diabetes (T2D) by 31% compared to placebo in adults with prediabetes. Circulating micro-ribonucleic acids (miRs) are promising biomarkers of T2D risk, but little is known about their associations with metformin regimens for T2D risk reduction. We compared the change in 24 circulating miRs from baseline to 2 years in a subset from DPP metformin intervention (n = 50) and placebo (n = 50) groups using Wilcoxon signed rank tests. Spearman correlations were used to evaluate associations between miR change and baseline clinical characteristics. Multiple linear regression was used to adjust for covariates. The sample was 73% female, 17% Black, 13% Hispanic, and 50 ± 11 years. Participants were obese, normotensive, prediabetic, and dyslipidemic. Change in 12 miR levels from baseline to 2 years was significantly different in the metformin group compared with placebo after adjusting for multiple comparisons: six (let-7c-5p, miR-151a-3p, miR-17-5p, miR-20b-5p, miR-29b-3p, and miR-93-5p) were significantly upregulated and six (miR-130b-3p, miR-22-3p, miR-222-3p, miR-320a-3p, miR-320c, miR-92a-3p) were significantly downregulated in the metformin group. These miRs help to explain how metformin is linked to T2D risk reduction, which may lead to novel biomarkers, therapeutics, and precision health strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5684
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 2024


  • diabetes prevention program
  • diabetes risk
  • metformin
  • microRNA
  • post-transcription

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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