20 Sep 2006
Giving multiple sclerosis (MS) patients a daily shot of nicotinamide may protect them from the risk of nerve degeneration and long-term severe disability, say researchers from the Children's Hospital, Boston, USA, who managed to do this with mice with Experimental Autoimmune Encephalitis (symptoms are similar to MS). Nicotinamide is a form of vitamin B3.
You can read about this study in the Journal of Neuroscience.
Anti-inflammatory drugs can help MS patients who are in the relapsing-remitting MS stage. During this stage the patient has bouts of illness, followed by partial or complete recovery. However, when patients are in the Chronic Progressive Phase there is no really effective treatment.
By daily injecting the mice with nicotinamide, the scientists found that their nerve cells were protected from myelin loss. Those cells that had already been affected did not get any worse. They also found that the level of protection correlated with the size of the nicotinamide dosage.
The mice were given a disability scale of 1 to 5 - with 5 being the highest disability level. Those receiving the highest nicotinamide dose scored either 1 or 2, compared with 3 or 4 for those that received no nicotinamide.
The nicotinamide shots enhanced levels of NAD (nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide) in the nervous systems of the mice.
Dr Shinjiro Kaneko, team leader, said "The earlier therapy was started, the better the effect, but we hope nicotinamide can help patients who are already in the chronic stage." He added that more research will be needed to see how effective this procedure might be for humans with MS.
No significant side effects were observed with this treatment.
Journal of Neuroscience
Can a vitamin alleviate chronic, progressive multiple sclerosis?
Ongoing nerve-fiber damage, disability prevented in animal study
Click Here To View Article Online in the Children's Hospital Boston Web Site
Written by: Christian Nordqvist
Editor: Medical News Today
Article URL: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/healthnews.php?newsid=52348