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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 769402, 14 pages
Research Article

Effect of Metformin on Viability, Morphology, and Ultrastructure of Mouse Bone Marrow-Derived Multipotent Mesenchymal Stromal Cells and Balb/3T3 Embryonic Fibroblast Cell Line

1Electron Microscopy Laboratory, The Faculty of Biology and Animal Science, University of Environmental and Life Sciences, Kożuchowska 5b Street, 50-631 Wroclaw, Poland
2Wrocławskie Centrum Badań EIT+, Stablowicka 147 Street, 54-066 Wroclaw, Poland
3Department of Experimental Oncology, Ludwik Hirszfeld Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy, Polish Academy of Sciences, 53-114 Wroclaw, Poland
4Department of Biotechnology and Food Microbiology, Faculty of Food Science University of Environmental and Life Sciences, Chelmonskiego 37/41, 51-630 Wroclaw, Poland

Received 8 January 2015; Revised 27 March 2015; Accepted 15 April 2015

Academic Editor: Wiep Scheper

Copyright © 2015 Agnieszka Śmieszek et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Metformin, a popular drug used to treat diabetes, has recently gained attention as a potentially useful therapeutic agent for treating cancer. In our research metformin was added to in vitro cultures of bone marrow-derived multipotent mesenchymal stromal cells (BMSCs) and Balb/3T3 fibroblast at concentration of 1 mM, 5 mM, and 10 mM. Obtained results indicated that metformin negatively affected proliferation activity of investigated cells. The drug triggered the formation of autophagosomes and apoptotic bodies in all tested cultures. Additionally, we focused on determination of expression of genes involved in insulin-like growth factor 2 (IGF2) signaling pathway. The most striking finding was that the mRNA level of IGF2 was constant in both BMSCs and Balb/3T3. Further, the analysis of IGF2 concentration in cell supernatants showed that it decreased in BMSC cultures after 5 and 10 mM metformin treatments. In case of Balb/3T3 the concentration of IGF2 in culture supernatants decreased after 1 and 5 mM and increased after 10 mM of metformin. Our results suggest that metformin influences the cytophysiology of somatic cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner causing inhibition of proliferation and abnormalities of their morphology and ultrastructure.