The effects of imeglimin, a novel antidiabetes agent, on β-cell function remain unclear. Here, we unveiled the impact of imeglimin on β-cell survival. Treatment with imeglimin augmented mitochondrial function, enhanced insulin secretion, promoted β-cell proliferation, and improved β-cell survival in mouse islets. Imeglimin upregulated the expression of endoplasmic reticulum (ER)–related molecules, including Chop (Ddit3), Gadd34 (Ppp1r15a), Atf3, and Sdf2l1, and decreased eIF2α phosphorylation after treatment with thapsigargin and restored global protein synthesis in β-cells under ER stress. Imeglimin failed to protect against ER stress–induced β-cell apoptosis in CHOP-deficient islets or in the presence of GADD34 inhibitor. Treatment with imeglimin showed a significant decrease in the number of apoptotic β-cells and increased β-cell mass in Akita mice. Imeglimin also protected against β-cell apoptosis in both human islets and human pluripotent stem cell–derived β-like cells. Taken together, imeglimin modulates the ER homeostasis pathway, which results in the prevention of β-cell apoptosis both in vitro and in vivo.

R.I. and Y.To. contributed equally to this work.

See accompanying article, p. 376.

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