Patients with diabetes have a high risk of developing skeletal diseases accompanied by diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN). In this study, we isolated the role of DPN in skeletal disease with global and conditional knockout models of sterile-α and TIR-motif-containing protein-1 (Sarm1). SARM1, an NADase highly expressed in the nervous system, regulates axon degeneration upon a range of insults, including DPN. Global knockout of Sarm1 prevented DPN, but not skeletal disease, in male mice with type 1 diabetes (T1D). Female wild-type mice also developed diabetic bone disease but without DPN. Unexpectedly, global Sarm1 knockout completely protected female mice from T1D-associated bone suppression and skeletal fragility despite comparable muscle atrophy and hyperglycemia. Global Sarm1 knockout rescued bone health through sustained osteoblast function with abrogation of local oxidative stress responses. This was independent of the neural actions of SARM1, as beneficial effects on bone were lost with neural conditional Sarm1 knockout. This study demonstrates that the onset of skeletal disease occurs rapidly in both male and female mice with T1D completely independently of DPN. In addition, this reveals that clinical SARM1 inhibitors, currently being developed for treatment of neuropathy, may also have benefits for diabetic bone through actions outside of the nervous system.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere175159
JournalJCI Insight
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2024


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