Metformin Alleviates Radiation-Induced Skin Fibrosis via the Downregulation of FOXO3

Jin Mo Kim, Hyun Yoo, Jee Youn Kim, Sang Ho Oh, Jeong Wook Kang, Byung Rok Yoo, Song Yee Han, Cha Soon Kim, Won Hoon Choi, Eun Jung Lee, Hyeong Ju Byeon, Won Jai Lee, Yun Sil Lee, Jaeho Cho

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Background/Aims: Radiation-induced skin fibrosis is a common side effect of clinical radiotherapy. Our previous next-generation sequencing (NGS) study demonstrated the reduced expression of the regulatory α subunit of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PIK3r1) in irradiated murine skin. Metformin has been reported to target the PIK3-FOXO3 pathway. In this study, we investigated the effects of metformin on radiation-induced skin fibrosis. Methods: Metformin was orally administered to irradiated mice. Skin fibrosis was analyzed by staining with H&E and Masson's trichrome stain. The levels of cytokines and chemokines associated with fibrosis were analyzed by immunohistochemistry and quantitative RT-PCR. The roles of PIK3rl and FOXO3 in radiation-induced skin fibrosis were studied by overexpressing PIK3rl and transfecting FOXO3 siRNA in NIH3T3 cells and mouse-derived dermal fibroblasts (MDF). Results: The oral administration of metformin significantly reduced radiation-induced skin thickening and collagen accumulation and significantly reduced the radiation-induced expression of FOXO3 in murine skin. Additionally, the overexpression of PIK3r1 reduced the radiation-induced expression of FOXO3, while FOXO3 silencing decreased the radiation-induced expression of TGFβ in vitro. Conclusions: The results indicated that metformin suppresses radiation-induced skin injuries by modulating the expression of FOXO3 through PIK3r1. Collectively, the data obtained in this study suggested that metformin could be a potent therapeutic agent for alleviating radiation-induced skin fibrosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)959-970
Number of pages12
JournalCellular Physiology and Biochemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Author(s). Published by S. Karger AG, Basel.


  • FOXO3
  • Metformin
  • PIK3r1
  • Radiation-induced skin fbrosis


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