Compound Found to Reverse Diabetes in Mice

Posted on Oct. 26, 2011, 6 a.m. in Diabetes

Researchers have managed to restore normal blood sugar metabolism in diabetic mice by giving them a daily injection of nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN), a compound naturally produced by the body that plays a key role in how cells use energy. Shin-ichiro Imai, MD, PhD, associate professor of developmental biology at Washington State University of Medicine, and colleagues found that aging and eating a high-fat diet reduces production of NMN, which in turn reduces production of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) and triggers abnormal metabolic conditions such as diabetes. Administering NMN to diabetic mice was found to lead to a rise in NAD levels and improvements in glucose tolerance. In male mice, administration of NMN was found to improve glucose tolerance, however in female mice it was shown to return glucose tolerance to within normal limits and normalize levels of cholesterol, triglycerides and free fatty acids. "I'm very excited to see these results because the effect of NMN is much bigger than other known compounds or chemicals," said first author Jun Yoshino, MD, PhD, postdoctoral research associate. "Plus, the fact that the body naturally makes NMN is promising for translating these findings into humans." The team hope to begin human trials in the near future.

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J Yoshino, KF Mills, M Jin Yoon, S Imai. Nicotinamide mononucleotide, a Key NAD+ intermediate, treats the pathophysiology of diet- and age-induced diabetes in mice. Cell Metabolism. 2011;14:528-536.

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