Karim Gariani

Karim Gariani

Hjelt grant holder 2018, University of Geneva

The impact of Nicotinamide Riboside on alpha and beta pancreatic cells function

Can vitamin injections boost insulin production?

In type 2-diabetes the function of the beta cells is disordered resulting in an unmet need for insulin. Could an addition of vitamin B3 help and restore the function by boosting energy to the cells? Karim Gariani at Geneva University wants to find out.

Type 2-diabetes is a condition when our beta cells fail to produce or secrete enough insulin, or if other cells in our body can’t assimilate the hormone – which causes an even greater demand for insulin from the beta cells.

In order to increase the capacity of the beta cells to produce insulin, Karim Gariani want to study the mechanisms in the mitochondria inside the cells.

The mitochondria play an important roll in every cell in our body. They are considered to be the powerhouse of the cells as they produce energy in the form of ATP. A way to increase ATP could be to increase the amount of a molecule called NAD+ which is involved in various cellular processes and has shown to induce mitochondrial biogenesis and improve mitochondrial homeostasis.

The beta cells are located in islets in the pancreas, and so are alpha cells that produce glucagon, a hormone which in contrary to insulin increase the blood sugar level.

– As observed for beta cells, mitochondria are also known to play a key role in control of glucagon secretion. We thus postulate that modulation of mitochondria activity through NAD+ levels may impact the secretion of insulin and glucagon through direct effect on pancreatic alpha and beta cells, says Karim Gariani.

His plan is to assess the impact of Nicotinamide Riboside on alpha and beta cells function using an in vitro and in vivo approach. Nicotinamide Riboside is a natural vitamin B3 derivative and has showed to elevate NAD+ in mice and humans without any adverse effect detected so far.

– This study will hopefully help to better understand the potential role of NAD+ in pancreatic islets and pave the way for new therapeutic approach for type 2 diabetes.

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