br The prevalence of diabetes is increasing globally
The prevalence of diabetes is increasing globally, and the situation is particularly alarming in Asia. The prevalence of diabetes in China has increased dramatically, from around 1% in 1980 to the most recent estimate of 9.7% according to a nationwide survey . Cumulative evidence shows that type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is associated with aberrant bone formation that can lead to skeletal fractures , , . Metformin, a relatively inexpensive and well-tolerated antihyperglycemic biguanide, is widely used by millions of diabetic patients as the first-line treatment for T2DM. As a highly hydrophilic cationic compound, metformin relies on polyspecific cell membrane organic cation transporters (OCTs) of the solute carrier 22A () gene family to facilitate its intracellular uptake and action . Several studies indicate that metformin has a potential osteogenic effect by promoting the differentiation of mesenchymal stem Exendin-3 (9-39) amide (MSCs) and preosteoblasts. Furthermore, metformin is also able to reverse the deleterious effects of advanced glycation end products on these cells , , , . Kanazawa et al showed that metformin can induce the differentiation and mineralization of preosteoblasts into osteoblastic cells via activation of the AMPK signaling pathway. Human dental pulp cells (DPCs) share similar gene expression profiles and differentiation capability as other MSCs , . However, it remains unknown whether metformin is able to induce the odontoblastic differentiation of DPCs. DPCs possess multipotent differentiation potential and the ability to form dentin-pulp–like complexes throughout life. When the dental pulp is confronted by trauma, microbes, or chemicals, a host of inflammatory cytokines are released . These insults can also stimulate the underlying progenitor pulp cells to differentiate into odontoblasts, which are capable of secreting dentin matrix proteins as part of reparative dentinogenesis . Odontoblasts secrete several collagenous and noncollagenous proteins, such as type 1 collagen, osteopontin, dentin matrix protein 1 (DMP-1), and dentin sialophosphoprotein (DSPP), which are unique biological markers for the odontoblast/osteoblastlike differentiations of DPCs , . DPCs are potentially superior to other stem cells for regenerative medicine applications including bone tissue engineering. For example, bone marrow MSCs require an invasive procedure to harvest; in contrast, DPCs are easy to harvest from donors including children losing their primary teeth and teenagers having their wisdom teeth removed, which are otherwise discarded as medical waste. Therefore, DPCs are considered to be of great promise for dental repair/regeneration as well as other tissue engineering applications.
Introduction Type 1 diabetes mellitus (T1DM) is an autoimmune disease caused by deficient insulin secretion from pancreatic β-cells . Skeletal muscle is a major regulator of glucose uptake and metabolic homeostasis under insulin-stimulated conditions . Stimulation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) phosphorylation leads to increased translocation of glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4) to the plasma membrane, leading to improved glucose uptake in the skeletal muscle . In the skeletal muscle of mice with T1DM, these AMPK signaling pathways contribute to the decline of basal metabolic function and the impairment of glucose uptake, reflecting the consistency of T1DM . For these reasons, increased AMPK and GLUT4 protein levels may be considered a potent therapeutic for T1DM. Therefore, it is important that the mechanisms of these proteins are fully elucidated in the skeletal muscle of individuals with T1DM. Cereblon (CRBN) was identified as a causative gene for mental retardation  and thalidomide induced teratogenicity . Recent evidence suggests that CRBN is a negative regulator of AMPK . CRBN-mediated AMPK inactivation causes many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, obesity, and fatty liver . Moreover, CRBN appears to inhibit the activation of AMPK, resulting in impaired glucose metabolism in diabetes [9,10]. In contrast, ablation of CRBN increases AMPK levels, improving insulin sensitivity in the liver of high-fat diet (HFD)-induced obese rats . Extensive research has shown that AMPK is a metabolic sensor that supports cellular homeostasis by modulating glucose metabolism . AMPK is sensitive to the ratio of AMP to ATP during periods of energy deprivation such as during exercise, hypoxia, and starvation . Consistent with the results of a previous study, Takumi et al.  have shown that activation of AMPK induces the expression of peroxide proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1-alpha (PGC-1α) and GLUT4 genes in the C2C12 cell line with obesity, suggesting the AMPK might be involved in anti-obesity. Additionally, exercise induces an increase in AMPK levels in the skeletal muscle, which results in enhancement of glucose uptake through the translocation of GLUT4 to the plasma membrane . Increased AMPK levels also lead to elevated levels of PGC-1α, which is a key modulator of glucose metabolism. AMPK signaling pathway is associated with increase in the levels of fibronectin type III domain-containing protein 5 (FNDC5) and uncoupling proteins (UCPs). In turn, these increases reduce glucose metabolism dysfunction and improve anti-oxidant effects in skeletal muscle of individuals with T1DM during exercise . The function of CRBN in various cellular compartments has been identified. However, the significance of increased CRBN and decreased AMPK, and related signaling in glucose uptake in the skeletal muscle with T1DM, remains unknown. Furthermore, the regulatory mechanisms mediating CRBN expression and approaches to increase AMPK levels for glucose uptake are still unclear.