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Christian Herder, Thomas Illig, Jens Baumert, Martina Müller, Norman Klopp, Natalie Khuseyinova, Christa Meisinger, Ulrike Poschen, Stephan Martin, Wolfgang Koenig and Barbara Thorand


Regulated on activation, normal T-cell expressed and secreted (RANTES)/chemokine(C-C motif) ligand (CCL5) is expressed by adipocytes, and serum levels of RANTES are increased in obesity and type 2 diabetes. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that RANTES is involved in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes by analyzing the triangular association between CCL5 gene polymorphisms, systemic RANTES concentrations, and incident type 2 diabetes in a large prospective study.

Subjects and methods

The study is based on 502 individuals (293 men and 209 women) and 1632 individuals (859 men and 773 women) with and without incident type 2 diabetes from the population-based MONItoring of Trends and Determinants in Cardiovascular Disease (MONICA)/Cooperative Health Research in the Region of Augsburg (KORA) case–cohort study respectively (mean follow-up time±s.d. 10.1±4.9 years). CCL5 genotypes and RANTES serum concentrations were determined and associations between genotypes, haplotypes, serum levels, and incident type 2 diabetes were assessed.


Minor alleles of four single nucleotide polymorphisms were associated with lower RANTES levels (P additive between 1.2×10−9 and 3.1×10−8), but neither genotypes, haplotypes, nor serum levels were associated with incident type 2 diabetes.


Our data suggest that RANTES/CCL5 gene variants and serum levels are not causally related with type 2 diabetes and that elevated RANTES levels in patients with type 2 diabetes may be a consequence of hyperglycemia. However, our findings cannot preclude a local role in adipose tissue where RANTES expression may contribute to leukocyte infiltration and a proinflammatory state.

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Eleonora Seelig, Stefanie Meyer, Katharina Timper, Nicole Nigro, Martina Bally, Ida Pernicova, Philipp Schuetz, Beat Müller, Marta Korbonits and Mirjam Christ-Crain


Patients receiving glucocorticoid treatment are prone to develop metabolic complications. In preclinical studies, metformin prevented the development of the metabolic syndrome during glucocorticoid excess. We herein investigated the metabolic effect of metformin during glucocorticoid treatment in non-diabetic patients.


In a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, patients starting glucocorticoid treatment (prednisone, prednisolone or methylprednisolone) for four weeks were randomised to concomitantly receive metformin (850 mg once daily for one week followed by 850 mg twice daily for three weeks) or placebo. All patients underwent a standardised oral glucose tolerance test at baseline and after four weeks. The primary endpoint was change in the 2-h area under the curve (AUC) of glucose during the oral glucose tolerance test between baseline and four weeks.


29 of 34 randomised non-diabetic patients completed the trial (17 metformin and 12 placebo). In patients allocated to placebo, median glucose 2-h AUC increased from baseline to four weeks (836 (IQR 770–966) to 1202 (1009–1271) mmol/L per min; P = 0.01). In contrast, glucose levels remained similar to baseline in the metformin group (936 (869–1003) to 912 (825–1011) mmol/L per min; P = 0.83). This change within four weeks was different between both groups (P = 0.005). Glucocorticoid equivalent doses were similar in both groups (placebo: 980.0 (560.0–3259.8) mg/28 days; metformin: 683.0 (437.5–1970.5) mg/28 days; P = 0.26).


In this first randomised controlled trial of metformin targeting metabolic complications in patients needing glucocorticoid therapy, we observed a beneficial effect of metformin on glycaemic control. Metformin thus seems to be a promising drug for preventing metabolic side effects during systemic glucocorticoid treatment.