Written by Ana Sandoiu
New mouse study shows that treatment with vitamin B-3 is effective against glaucoma.
The research – led by Jackson Laboratory professor and Howard Hughes medical investigator Simon W.M. John – investigates the effect of vitamin B-3 on mice that had been genetically modified to be prone to developing glaucoma. The findings were published in the journal Science.
Glaucoma is the name given to a group of neurodegenerative diseases that affect the optic nerve and may lead to visual impairment and blindness. In the so-called open-angle glaucoma, a buildup of fluid inside the eye raises the intraocular pressure to a point where it damages the optic nerve, eventually causing the loss of retinal ganglion cells. These are neuronal cells that connect the eye to the brain through the optic nerve.
The condition reportedly affects more than 60 million people worldwide, with 3 million cases of glaucoma suspected in adults in the United States.
Advanced age is a risk factor for glaucoma, as its prevalence increases with age and the optical nerve, along with the neuronal cells, become more vulnerable to the harmful effects of intraocular pressure.