NMN emerges as a potential solution to reverse male infertility caused by diabetes

NMN emerges as a potential solution to reverse male infertility caused by diabetes

Table of Content:

Introduction to NMN and Diabetes-Related Male Infertility

Nicotinamide Mononucleotide (NMN) is a molecule that plays a crucial role in various cellular processes, including energy metabolism and DNA repair. Recently, it has gained popularity as a dietary supplement for improving health and promoting longevity. A new study suggests that NMN could also be a promising treatment for diabetes-induced male infertility by improving testicular structure and function and restoring glucose utilisation for cellular energy.

Diabetes, particularly type II diabetes, affects millions worldwide, projected to increase in the coming years. Male infertility is a common issue among diabetic patients, as it can lead to diminished libido, erectile dysfunction, and sperm abnormalities. Although some diabetes medications, like pioglitazone and metformin, have shown the potential to restore sperm function, more effective treatments are needed. This article delves into the findings of a study that highlights NMN’s potential in reversing male infertility caused by diabetes.

The Study: NMN Reverses Diabetes-Induced Testicular Dysfunction

A team of researchers led by Liao from the University of South China conducted a study on diabetic male mice, treating them with NMN to evaluate its effects on testicular structure and function. The study utilised a mouse model with chemically induced type II diabetes, resulting in a significantly reduced sperm count and a higher proportion of abnormal sperm.

Following NMN treatment, the mice showed a restored sperm count and reduced abnormal sperm abundance, indicating a potential reversal of diabetes-induced male infertility.


To induce type II diabetes, the researchers treated mice with a chemotherapeutic agent called streptozotocin, which is toxic to pancreatic cells. Streptozotocin administration led to diabetes in the mice, with dramatic reductions in sperm count and increases in abnormal sperm.

The diabetic mice were then treated with NMN to assess its impact on testicular health and fertility. The researchers evaluated sperm count, sperm morphology, and testicular structure and function.

NMN’s Impact on Testicular Structure and Function

To further assess NMN’s efficacy, the researchers examined the size of seminiferous tubules in the testes, where sperm precursor cells are generated. Diabetic mice showed marked reductions in seminiferous tubule area and diameter, which were restored upon NMN treatment. These findings suggest that NMN could help maintain testicular structural integrity and, in turn, improve its functional capacity.

Effect of NMN treatment on sperm parameters in diabetic mice

The effect of NMN on sperm count (A), abnormal sperms (B), and the rate of abnormal sperms (C) in testis tissue of diabetic mice. n=8. * P<0.05 and ** P<0.01.

Restoring Sperm Count and Morphology

By restoring testicular structure and function, NMN treatment led to significant improvements in sperm count and morphology. Diabetic mice treated with NMN exhibited a higher sperm count and a lower proportion of abnormal sperm, suggesting that NMN might help reverse diabetes-induced male infertility.

NMN increases sperm count and reduces abnormal sperm. Compared to healthy mice (Ctrl), diabetic mice (DM) display drastically reduced sperm counts (A) and increased abnormal sperm (B), yet NMN (DM + NMN) restores these deficits.

NMN Enhances Glucose Utilisation in Testes

As type II diabetes is associated with impaired glucose breakdown for cellular energy through a process called glycolysis, the researchers examined the abundance of crucial glycolytic enzymes in the testes. While enzyme levels were significantly reduced in the testes of diabetic mice, NMN treatment restored their mass.

These results indicate that NMN helps restore glucose utilisation in the testes of diabetic mice, providing the necessary cellular energy for sperm generation and potentially reversing infertility.

Comparing NMN to Other Diabetes-Induced Male Infertility Treatments

Current anti-diabetes medications, such as pioglitazone and metformin, have shown the potential to restore test glycolysis and improve male fertility. The findings from Liao and colleagues suggest that NMN may provide another avenue for treating diabetes-induced male infertility.

Future research should compare the efficacy of pioglitazone, metformin, and NMN in restoring fertility in diabetic males. Additionally, adopting healthier lifestyles, including better eating habits and regular exercise, can help counteract the effects of diabetes and potentially restore male fertility.

FAQs on NMN and Diabetes-Induced Male Infertility

This section answers frequently asked questions about NMN and its potential role in treating diabetes-induced male infertility.

Q1: How does NMN improve testicular structure and function in diabetic males?

A: NMN treatment has been shown to restore the size of seminiferous tubules in the testes, where sperm precursor cells are generated. By improving testicular structure, NMN helps maintain functional capacity and may contribute to reversing diabetes-induced male infertility.

Q2: What are the potential benefits of NMN for diabetic males with fertility issues?

A: NMN treatment can significantly improve sperm count and morphology, often impaired in diabetic males. Additionally, NMN enhances glucose utilisation in the testes, providing cellular energy for sperm generation and potentially reversing infertility.

Q3: How does NMN compare to other treatments for diabetes-induced male infertility?

A: While some anti-diabetes medications, like pioglitazone and metformin, have shown potential in restoring glycolysis in testes and improving male fertility, further research is needed to determine the most effective treatment options, including NMN.

Q4: What lifestyle changes can diabetic males implement to improve fertility?

A: Adopting healthier eating habits, engaging in regular exercise, and maintaining a healthy body weight can help counteract the effects of diabetes and potentially restore male fertility. In addition to pharmacological interventions, a healthier lifestyle may improve overall health and fertility outcomes for diabetic males.


Nicotinamide Mononucleotide (NMN) has emerged as a potential treatment for diabetes-induced male infertility, offering promising results in improving testicular structure, function, and glucose utilisation. As the prevalence of diabetes continues to rise, identifying effective treatments for associated complications, such as male infertility, becomes increasingly important. Further research is needed to confirm NMN’s efficacy and to compare it to other treatment options. Still, the potential for NMN to restore fertility in diabetic males offers hope to those seeking to have children.

Ma D, Hu L, Wang J, Luo M, Liang A, Lei X, Liao B, Li M, Xie M, Li H, Gong Y, Zi D, Li X, Chen X, Liao X. Nicotinamide mononucleotide improves spermatogenic function in streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice via modulating the glycolysis pathway. Acta Biochim Biophys Sin (Shanghai). 2022 Jul 25. doi: 10.3724/abbs.2022099. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 35929593.

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