AMPK activators – potential therapeutics for metabolic and other diseases


B. B. Zhang, Department of Metabolic Disorders, Merck Research Laboratories, Rahway, NJ, USA. E-mail:


AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK)-mediated cellular metabolic responses to tissue-specific and whole-body stimuli play a vital role in the control of energy homeostasis. As a cellular energy-sensing mechanism, AMPK activation stimulates glucose uptake and fat oxidation, while it suppresses lipogenesis and gluconeogenesis. The cumulative effects of AMPK activation lead to beneficial metabolic states in liver, muscle and other peripheral tissues that are critical in the pathogenesis of obesity, type 2 diabetes and related metabolic disorders. Activators of AMPK that target selected tissues hold potential as novel therapeutics for diseases in which altered energy metabolism contributes to aetiology.