London: Here's some good news for those suffering from diabetes.Scientists are developing a pill to treat or even prevent the most common form of the disease.

A new study on diabetic mice found a compound, called nicotinamide mononucleotide, produced naturally by the body, successfully restored their normal blood sugar metabolism, the 'Daily Mail' reported.

The scientists believe this could lead to people taking the compound like a daily vitamin to stop type II diabetes from developing.

In fact, they were able to normalise blood sugar levels in diabetic mice by injecting them with the chemical. At the same time, the jabs lowered raised levels of cholesterol and triglyceride blood fats.

The scientists are now working on a way of administering nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) to mice in drinking water.

"Once we can get a grade of NMN that humans can take, we would really like to launch a pilot human study," said study leader Dr Shin-ichiro Imai from Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis.

The scientists triggered the condition in young, healthy mice by feeding them a high-fat diet. All had reduced levels of a molecule called NAD that harvests energy from nutrients and turns it into a form cells can use.

In both mice and humans, NAD is derived from NMN made by cells via a chain of biological reactions.

One of NAD's effects is activation of SIRT1, a protein that has been shown to promote healthy metabolism throughout the body. Although NAD is too toxic to be administered directly, the scientists were able to raise its levels in mice by injecting them with NMN.

After the treatment, the animals showed dramatically improved responses to glucose. In the case of female mice, tests showed their ability to move glucose from the blood to organs and tissues had returned to normal. Male mice also showed an improvement, but were not completely normalised.

The gender difference might be explained by hormonal effects, the scientists believe.

Dr Jun Yoshino, also from Washington University, who co-authored the research, said: "The fact that the body naturally makes NMN is promising for translating these findings into humans."

In older mice, around 15 per cent of healthy males fed a normal diet also developed diabetes. Glucose response improved in these animals after just one injection of NMN. The same treatment had no adverse effects on older mice not suffering from diabetes.

"Again, when we injected these females with NMN, we came up with a completely normal glucose tolerance curve. We can also see that the NMN has completely reversed and normalized the levels of cholesterol, triglycerides and free fatty acids," said Dr Kathryn Mills, another member of the Washington University team.

The findings have been published in the 'Cell Metabolism' journal.

(Agencies)