New preclinical study finds Niagen® prevents light-induced retinal damage in mice

ChromaDex Corp. has announced new preclinical research published in Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science finding Niagen® (patented nicotinamide riboside, or NR) prevented light-induced retinal damage in mice. This research paves the way for future preclinical and clinical studies exploring the relationship between NAD+ levels and preservation of long-term ocular health. The study, conducted through the ChromaDex External Research Program (CERP), was led by Jeffrey H. Boatright, PhD, FARVO, Professor of Ophthalmology and principal investigator at Emory University and the Atlanta VA Center for Visual and Neurocognitive Rehabilitation.

In previously published preclinical models, age-related declines in ocular health have been associated with low levels of NAD+, an important coenzyme that helps power metabolically active cells and tissues. NAD+ levels naturally decline with age as well as from environmental stressors. These declines in NAD+ may be at the heart of degeneration of the retina, the ocular tissue responsible for vision, and the subsequent vision loss that ensues with aging.

“We are encouraged by these findings of protective effects of nicotinamide riboside in this retinal degeneration mouse model. The research also fired the imaginations of two trainees in my lab, Xian Zhang, MD and Nate Henneman, and is a significant step in their professional development,” says Dr. Boatright. “We look forward to furthering this research in humans to see how NR may support long-term ocular health.”

ChromaDex’s Niagen had already been proven in nine published studies to raise levels of NAD+ in the human body. The researchers in this latest study explored how augmenting NAD+ levels affected the function and viability of retinal cells in mice following exposure to damaging light. This light was meant to simulate the decades of UV light exposure that the retina endures over a lifetime.

The researchers found that exposure to the damaging light significantly depressed retinal NAD+ levels. They also observed that, compared to control mice, mice given Niagen the day before and morning before light exposure had higher retinal NAD+ levels, thicker retinas, fewer dying (apoptotic) retinal cells, and less retinal inflammation following the light damage.

This study contributes to a growing body of evidence in preclinical models for Niagen’s role in supporting metabolically active tissues, like the retina, against age-related and environmental stressors.

“Just this year, we’ve seen numerous studies published on the benefits of Niagen in human, animal, and cell models,” says Dr. Andrew Shao, ChromaDex Senior Vice President of Global Scientific & Regulatory Affairs. “This study paves the way for future research in humans studying age-related declines in ocular health which is a major public health problem.”

ChromaDex, the exclusive licensee of Dr. Charles Brenner’s patented NR, has invested over $35 million in investigating, manufacturing and offering NR in the form of Niagen and has secured more than 20 patents. ChromaDex has demonstrated the safety and efficacy of Niagen in eleven published human trials (and over 20 additional ongoing studies further evaluating its safety and efficacy) and has achieved government regulatory acceptance in the United States, Canada, the European Union, and Australia.

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