Weill Cornell Medical College has received a $2.5 million grant from the New York State Spinal Cord Injury Research Board to investigate the impact of a naturally-occurring substance in helping prevent paralysis following an injury.
The research will focus on a vitamin B3 precursor as scientists believe that increasing the levels of the compound that converts to the active form of vitamin B3 (called NAD+) can be useful in preventing permanent nerve damage.
"Our study is aimed at synthesizing a molecule that, when given soon after injury, may augment the body’s production of NAD+ and rescue these cells before they are stressed beyond recovery," says Dr. Samie Jaffrey, associate professor of pharmacology at Weill Cornell Medical College.
The theory behind the upcoming study is based on the fact that vitamin B3 plays a key role in cells by activating proteins called sirtuins that help the cells survive under stress. Sirtuins, which can be activated by compounds like resveratrol—found in large concentrations in the skin of grapes used to make red wine—have been shown to possess anti-aging and healing properties.
Those interested in maintaining muscle health may also turn to nutritional supplements containing B vitamins.