The principal metabolic effect of metformin-an oral antihyperglycaemic agent-is the improvement in the sensitivity of peripheral tissues and liver to insulin. This study examined the effect of metformin monotherapy on antioxidative defence system activity in erythrocytes and plasma in diabetic patients. We studied the effect of metformin treatment on the activities of Cu, Zn-superoxide dismutase (EC 1. 15. 1. 1.), catalase (EC 1. 11. 1. 6.) and glutathione peroxidase (EC 1. 11. 1. 9.) in relation to lipid peroxidation products and reduced glutathione level in plasma and erythrocytes. In this study we also examined erythrocytes' susceptibility to H2O2-induced oxidative stress during metformin therapy. Although metformin monotherapy ameliorated the imbalance between free radical-induced increase in lipid peroxidation (by reducing the MDA level in both erythrocytes and plasma) and decreased plasma and cellular antioxidant defences (by increasing the erythrocyte activities of Cu, Zn, SOD, catalase and GSH level) and decreased erythrocyte susceptibility to oxidative stress, it had negligible effect to scavenge Fe ion-induced free radical generation in a phospholipid-liposome system.
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