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Nicotinamide Riboside Improves Enteric Neuropathy in Streptozocin-Induced Diabetic Rats Through Myenteric Plexus Neuroprotection

Journal Article
Christopher J Costa, Melanie W Cohen, David C Goldberg, Wilfredo Mellado, Dianna E Willis
Year Published: 
Dig Dis Sci . 2023 Mar 15. doi: 10.1007/s10620-023-07913-5. Online ahead of print.
PMID: 36920665 | DOI: 10.1007/s10620-023-07913-5
Full Text on Springer


Background: Diabetes Mellitus causes a systemic oxidative stress due in part to the hyperglycemia and the reactive oxygen species generated. Up to 75% of diabetic patients present with an autonomic neuropathy affecting the Enteric Nervous System. Deficits in the human population are chronic dysmotilities with either increased (i.e., constipation) or decreased (i.e., diarrhea) total gastrointestinal transit times. These are recapitulated in the streptozocin-induced diabetic rat, which is a model of Type I Diabetes Mellitus.

Aims: Examine the effects that a precursor of nicotinamide adenosine dinucleotide (NAD), nicotinamide riboside (NR), had on the development of dysmotility in induced diabetic rats and if fecal microbiota transplant (FMT) could produce the same results.

Materials and methods: Utilizing a 6-week treatment paradigm, NR was administered intraperitoneally every 48 h. Total gastrointestinal transit time was assessed weekly utilizing the carmine red method. Three weeks following hyperglycemic induction, FMT was performed between NR-treated animals and untreated animals.

Significant results: There is improvement in overall gastrointestinal transit time with the use of NR. 16S microbiome sequencing demonstrated decreased alpha and beta diversity in induced diabetic rats without change in animals receiving FMT. Improvements in myenteric plexus ganglia density in small and large intestines in diabetic animals treated with NR were seen.

Conclusions: NR treatment led to functional improvement in total gastrointestinal transit time in induced diabetic animals. This was associated with neuroprotection in the myenteric plexuses of both small and large intestines of induced diabetic rats. This represents an important first step in showing NR's benefit as a treatment for diabetic enteric neuropathy. Streptozocin-induced diabetic rats have improved transit times and increased myenteric plexus ganglia density when treated with intraperitoneal nicotinamide riboside.