While peripheral neuropathy is the most common complication of long-term diabetes, cognitive deficits associated with encephalopathy and myelopathy also occur. Diabetes is a risk factor for Alzheimer disease (AD) and increases the risk of progression from mild cognitive impairment to AD. The only current recommendation for preventing or slowing the progression of peripheral neuropathy is to maintain close glycemic control, while there is no recommendation for central nervous system disorders. NSI-189 is a new chemical entity that when orally administered promotes neurogenesis in the adult hippocampus, increases hippocampal volume, enhances synaptic plasticity, and reduces cognitive dysfunction. To establish the potential for impact on peripheral neuropathy, we first showed that NSI-189 enhances neurite outgrowth and mitochondrial functions in cultured adult rat primary sensory neurons. Oral delivery of NSI-189 to murine models of type 1 (female) and type 2 (male) diabetes prevented multiple functional and structural indices of small and large fiber peripheral neuropathy, increased hippocampal neurogenesis, synaptic markers and volume, and protected long-term memory. NSI-189 also halted progression of established peripheral and central neuropathy. NSI-189, which is currently in clinical trials for treatment of major depressive disorder, offers the opportunity for the development of a single therapeutic agent against multiple indices of central and peripheral neuropathy.
- Received March 12, 2019.
- Accepted August 26, 2019.
- © 2019 by the American Diabetes Association.