Acute metformin induces hyperglycemia in healthy adult mourning doves, Zenaida macroura

Anthony J. Basile, Avin Kreisler, Ryan Hassen, Kavita Singh, Maggie Symes, Gale Larson, Milena Figueiredo de Sousa, Karen L. Sweazea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Birds have the highest blood glucose among vertebrates. Several mechanisms may explain this including the lack of a functional insulin-responsive glucose transport protein, high glucagon concentrations, and reliance on lipid oxidation resulting in the production of gluconeogenic precursors. The hypothesis was that interruption of gluconeogenesis using the diabetes medication metformin would lower glucose concentrations in wild-caught birds. We captured two cohorts of adult mourning doves, Zenaida macroura, and acclimated them to captivity for two weeks. In this crossover study, cohort 1 was administered a single dose of one of the following oral treatments each week: metformin (150 or 300 mg/kg), glycogenolysis inhibitor (2.5 mg/kg 1,4-dideoxy-1,4-imino-D-arabinitol (DAB)), or water (50 μL). Whole blood glucose was measured using a glucometer at baseline, 30, 60, and 120 min following the oral doses. In contrast to mammals and chickens, 300 mg/kg metformin did not alter blood glucose (p > 0.05) whereas 150 mg/kg metformin increased blood glucose compared to water (p = 0.043). To examine whether 150 mg/kg metformin stimulated glycogenolysis, we co-administered 150 mg/kg metformin and 2.5 mg/kg DAB, which prevented the hyperglycemic response. Cohort 2 was administered the same treatments and the early response was examined (0, 5, 10, 15 min). Low-dose metformin increased blood glucose within 5 min (p = 0.039) whereas the high dose had no effect. DAB did not prevent the early response to metformin nor did it alter blood glucose concentrations when administered alone (p = 0.887). In conclusion, metformin increases endogenous blood glucose via glycogenolysis in healthy adult male mourning doves.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number111594
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology -Part A : Molecular and Integrative Physiology
StatePublished - May 2024


  • Avian
  • Gluconeogenesis
  • Glucose
  • Glycogenolysis
  • Metformin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology


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