Vitamin B3 modulates mitochondrial vulnerability and prevents glaucoma in aged mice.
Science 2017 Feb 17; 355(6326):756-760
Glaucomas are neurodegenerative diseases that cause vision loss, especially in the elderly. The mechanisms initiating glaucoma and driving neuronal vulnerability during normal aging are unknown. Studying glaucoma-prone mice, we show that mitochondrial abnormalities are an early driver of neuronal dysfunction, occurring before detectable degeneration. Retinal levels of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD(+), a key molecule in energy and redox metabolism) decrease with age and render aging neurons vulnerable to disease-related insults. Oral administration of the NAD(+) precursor nicotinamide (vitamin B3), and/or gene therapy (driving expression of Nmnat1, a key NAD(+)-producing enzyme), was protective both prophylactically and as an intervention. At the highest dose tested, 93% of eyes did not develop glaucoma. This supports therapeutic use of vitamin B3 in glaucoma and potentially other age-related neurodegenerations. Science 2017 Feb 17; 355(6326):756-760.
Williams, Pete A.; Harder, Jeffrey M.; Foxworth, Nicole E; Cochran, Kelly E; Philip, Vivek M.; Porciatti, Vittorio; Smithies, Oliver; and John, Simon W M, "Vitamin B3 modulates mitochondrial vulnerability and prevents glaucoma in aged mice." (2017). Faculty Research 2017. 38.