D-ribose metabolic disorder and diabetes mellitus

Mol Biol Rep. 2024 Jan 28;51(1):220. doi: 10.1007/s11033-023-09076-y.


D-ribose, an ubiquitous pentose compound found in all living cells, serves as a vital constituent of numerous essential biomolecules, including RNA, nucleotides, and riboflavin. It plays a crucial role in various fundamental life processes. Within the cellular milieu, exogenously supplied D-ribose can undergo phosphorylation to yield ribose-5-phosphate (R-5-P). This R-5-P compound serves a dual purpose: it not only contributes to adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production through the nonoxidative phase of the pentose phosphate pathway (PPP) but also participates in nucleotide synthesis. Consequently, D-ribose is employed both as a therapeutic agent for enhancing cardiac function in heart failure patients and as a remedy for post-exercise fatigue. Nevertheless, recent clinical studies have suggested a potential link between D-ribose metabolic disturbances and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) along with its associated complications. Additionally, certain in vitro experiments have indicated that exogenous D-ribose exposure could trigger apoptosis in specific cell lines. This article comprehensively reviews the current advancements in D-ribose's digestion, absorption, transmembrane transport, intracellular metabolic pathways, impact on cellular behaviour, and elevated levels in diabetes mellitus. It also identifies areas requiring further investigation.

Keywords: Advanced glycation end products; D-ribose; Diabetes mellitus; Energy metabolism; Nonenzymatic glycation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine Triphosphate
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2* / drug therapy
  • Heart Failure*
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Diseases*
  • Ribose / metabolism


  • Ribose
  • Adenosine Triphosphate