- Glaucoma is one of the common neurodegenerative disease, affecting 80 percent of the people worldwide.
- Supplementation of Vitamin B3 can offer protection against
glaucoma, finds a new study.
- The findings offer promise for developing an inexpensive and
safe treatment for glaucoma.
Vitamin B3 can
be effective to treat glaucoma, finds a study conducted by a research team led
by Jackson Laboratory Professor and Howard Hughes, Medical Investigator Simon
The study was
conducted in mice predisposed to glaucoma. Adding vitamin B3 to drinking
water was found to be effective in preventing glaucoma.
‘Glaucoma is one of the leading causes of irreversible blindness. Administration of vitamin B3 boosted the metabolic reliability of aging eye cells, thereby preventing glaucoma.’
In the study
published in the journal Science,
the authors noted that vitamin B3
administration eliminated the majority of age-related molecular changes,
providing significant protection against glaucoma. This finding shows promise
for developing an inexpensive and safe treatments for glaucoma.
neurodegenerative condition, affecting 80 million people worldwide. In most
patients with glaucoma, intraocular pressure or high pressure inside the eye
causes dysfunction and loss of retinal ganglion cells (neuronal cells that
connect the eye to the brain via the optic nerve).
Age is a major
risk factor for glaucoma, which contributes to harmful elevation of intraocular
pressure and increased neuronal vulnerability to pressure-induced damage.
to identify key age-related susceptibility factors that change with age in the
eye and that therefore increase vulnerability to disease and in particular
neuronal disease," said John.
the age-related mechanism helps develop new interventions to protect people
from common age-related diseases.
Effect of Vitamin B3
in Preventing Glaucoma
team conducted a variety of genomic, metabolic, neurobiological and other tests
in mice susceptible to inherited glaucoma. The team discovered that NAD
(Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide), a molecule vital to energy metabolism in
neurons and other cells declined with age. The decline in NAD levels reduces
the reliability of neurons energy metabolism.
analogy with an old motorbike. It runs just fine, but little things get less
reliable with age. One day you stress it: you drive it up a steep hill or you
go on a really long journey and you get in trouble. It's less reliable than a
new bike and it's going to fail with a higher frequency than that new
bike," said John.
taking that big hill on your old bike, some things are going to fail more
often. The amount of failure will increase over time, resulting in more damage
and disease progression."
of Vitamin B3 (nicotinamide, an amide form of vitamin B3, also called
niacinamide) increased the metabolic reliability of aging retinal ganglion
these cells are still healthy, and still metabolically robust even when high
intraocular pressure turns on, they better resist damaging processes," said
JAX Postdoctoral Associate Pete Williams, first author of the study.
Gene Therapy for
team also found that a single gene therapy application of Nmnat1 (the gene
for an enzyme that makes NAD from nicotinamide) prevented glaucoma in a mouse
"It can be
a problem for patients, especially the elderly, to take their drugs every day
and in the correct dose. So gene therapy could be a one-shot, protective
treatment," said Williams.
through injections into the eye have been approved for rare human genetic eye
disorders. Their demonstration of an important age-dependent factor may enable
gene therapy for more common eye disease." The research team is pursuing
clinical partnerships to test the effectiveness of Vitamin B3 in treating
Facts About Glaucoma
- About 10% of the patients with
glaucoma who receive treatment still experience loss of vision
- Around 3 million Americans suffer
- About 4.5 million people are blind
due to glaucoma
- Currently, there is no cure for
- Older people are at higher risk
- One out of every 10,000 babies in
the United States is born with glaucoma
- Williams PA, Harder JM, Foxworth NE, et al. Vitamin B3 modulates mitochondrial vulnerability and prevents glaucoma in aged mice. Science (2017), DOI: 10.1126/science.355.6326.706-g
- Glaucoma - Definition - (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/glaucoma/basics/definition/con-20024042)
- Facts About Glaucoma - (https://nei.nih.gov/health/glaucoma/glaucoma_facts)