A team of researchers have identified a naturally occurring compound which can restore normal blood glucose control in mice with diabetes. The researchers, from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, have suggested that the discovery could lead to a potential treatment for Type 2 diabetes.
The compound, called nicotinamide mononucleotide, or NMN, is made by all cells in the body, and plays a key role in regulating how cells use energy. Professor Shin-ichiro Imai has described the results as "really remarkable," going on to say that "NMN improves diabetic symptoms, at least in mice." This has led to suggestions that it may one day be possible to take the compound much like a daily vitamin to treat Type 2 diabetes.
"Enormous leap of faith"
However, Imai acknowledged that they do not know if the same mechanism plays an equally important role in humans.
Dr Iain Frame, Director of Research at Diabetes UK, said, "The idea that Type 2 diabetes will be cured or prevented by taking a simple pill is not supported by this paper. The research is at a very early stage and has shown some benefit in female mice with diabetes and less benefit in male mice. Whilst promising, it would take an enormous leap of faith to assume a new pill will soon be on the market for people with, or at high risk of, Type 2 diabetes."
The research paper features in the journal Cell Metabolism, and can beread in full on the journal’s website.