The rationale for this proposal is that there is currently no specific medication that prevents or reverses diabetic neuropathy in humans and this is a major gap in scientific knowledge. Oxidative stress and mitochondrial (Mt) dysfunction are recognized as important causative factors in neurodegenerative disease and in diabetic neuropathy. Our central hypothesis is that nicotinamide riboside (NR) and nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) are precursors that in the presence of nicotinamide mononucleotide adenylyltransferase 2 (Nmnat2) increase tissue NAD+ levels in the peripheral nervous system. This in turn activates SIRT1, and in turn downstream transcription factors, which differentially regulate specific Mt complexes to optimize Mt respiration and prevent Mt degeneration. Our objectives are to determine if NR or NMN can be used as a therapy for experimental diabetic neuropathy, determine if the SIRT1- PGC-1? signaling pathway provides molecular targets for treatment of neuropathy, identify potential Mt respiratory chain targets that may respond to treatment, determine if the axonal enzyme that converts NMN to NAD, Nmnat2, is present in regenerating axons in skin biopsies from diabetic animals and human subjects and if measurement of Nmnat2 may be useful as a marker for response to NR. In the Methods, we will use a variety of molecular, electrophysiology, and pathology tools to achieve the aims of the study. Animal models of type 1 and 2 diabetes will be used to determine the effect of NAD+ and SIRT1 overexpression on neuropathy. In isolated Mt or whole DRG neurons we will manipulate NAD+ and SIRT1 to assess the effect on overall Mt function and specific Mt respiratory complexes. Nmnat2 levels will be determined in control and age and gender matched skin biopsies from subjects with different severity of diabetes and diabetic neuropathy. The preliminary findings support the overall objectives of the proposal and provide promising evidence that NR and NMN would provide a potential therapy for diabetic neuropathy and that NAD+ activation of the SIRT1- PGC-1? signaling pathway is important in regulating Mt respiration. The status of the project based on our recent manuscripts shows that PGC-1? has a key role in regulating Mt function in diabetic neuropathy and that knockdown of PGC-1? intensifies the neuropathy. This novel research will examine the upstream activator of PGC-1?, namely SIRT1 in diabetic neuropathy and help further explore a new potential therapy (NR) that can be taken into clinical studies in a timely manner.

Public Health Relevance

Diabetes affects at least 16 million people in the United States, accounts for 18% of all deaths, and the number of diabetics is increasing by 5% per year. Neuropathy occurs in 50% of diabetic patients over time and there is no treatment that completely prevents or reverses the development of diabetic neuropathy. This study is relevant to public health in that it will determine treatment for a common and disabling condition, diabetic neuropathy. The proposed studies will seek to understand the role of (1) NAD+ and SIRT1 in the pathogenesis of diabetic neuropathy and (2) NAD+ precursors (nicotinamide riboside and NMN) and SIRT1 in the treatment of diabetic neuropathy. Thus, the proposed research is relevant to one of NIH?s missions: namely, to develop fundamental knowledge and treatment approaches that will help reduce the burdens of disease and disability.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
Research Project (R01)
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Clinical Neuroplasticity and Neurotransmitters Study Section (CNNT)
Program Officer
Jones, Teresa L Z
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University of Maryland Baltimore
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Adler, Brittany L; Russell, James W; Hummers, Laura K et al. (2018) Symptoms of Autonomic Dysfunction in Systemic Sclerosis Assessed by the COMPASS-31 Questionnaire. J Rheumatol 45:1145-1152
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Chandrasekaran, Krish; Muragundla, Anjaneyulu; Demarest, Tyler G et al. (2017) mGluR2/3 activation of the SIRT1 axis preserves mitochondrial function in diabetic neuropathy. Ann Clin Transl Neurol 4:844-858
Zilliox, Lindsay A; Chadrasekaran, Krish; Kwan, Justin Y et al. (2016) Diabetes and Cognitive Impairment. Curr Diab Rep 16:87