Vitamin B3 shows early promise in treatment of stroke

Feb 24, 2010

An early study suggests that vitamin B3 or niacin, a common water-soluble vitamin, may help improve neurological function after stroke, according to Henry Ford Hospital researchers.

When rats with ischemic stroke were given niacin, their brains showed growth of new blood vessels, and sprouting of which greatly improved neurological outcome.

Now research is underway at Henry Ford to investigate the effects of an extended-release form of niacin on stroke patients. Henry Ford is the only site nationally conducting such a study.

"If this proves to also work well in our human trials, we'll then have the benefit of a low-cost, easily-tolerable treatment for one of the most neurologically devastating conditions," Michael Chopp, Ph.D., scientific director of the Henry Ford Neuroscience Institute.

Dr. Chopp will present results from the animal model study at the International Stroke Conference in San Antonio.

According to the National Stroke Association, stroke is the third-leading cause of death in America and a leading cause of disability.

Ischemic strokes occur as a result of an obstruction within a blood vessel supplying blood to the brain. accounts for about 87 percent of all cases. One underlying condition for this type of obstruction is the development of fatty cholesterol deposits lining the vessel walls.

Niacin is known to be the most effective medicine in current clinical use for increasing high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), which helps those fatty deposits.

Dr. Chopp and his colleagues found that in animals niacin helps restore neurological function in the brain following stroke.

In 2009, stroke physicians at Henry Ford Hospital published research which showed that HDL-C is abnormally low at the time stroke patients arrive at the hospital.

Dr. Chopp's research found that in animals, niacin increased "good" cholesterol (HDL-C), which increased blood vessels in the brain and axonal and dendritic growth leading to a substantial improvement in neurological function.

"Niacin essentially re-wires the brain which has very exciting potential for use in humans," says Dr. Chopp. "The results of this study may also open doors in other areas of neurological medicine, including brain injury."

Andrew Russman, D.O., is the principal investigator of the team at Henry Ford Hospital who will evaluate in clinical trials whether niacin improves recovery for human stroke patients.

"If we are able to prove that treating patients with niacin helps to restore after stroke, we're opening a whole new avenue of treatment for the leading cause of serious long-term disability in adults," says Dr. Russman.

Explore further: Growing a blood vessel in a week

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

High triglycerides, other cholesterol raise risk of stroke

Dec 27, 2007

People with high triglycerides and another type of cholesterol tested but not usually evaluated as part of a person’s risk assessment have an increased risk of a certain type of stroke, according to research published in ...

Children can have recurrent strokes

Feb 24, 2010

Children can have strokes, and the strokes can recur, usually within a month, according to pediatric researchers. Unfortunately, the strokes often go unrecognized the first time, and the child does not receive treatment before ...

Cholesterol-lowering drugs and the risk of hemorrhagic stroke

Dec 12, 2007

People taking cholesterol-lowering drugs such as atorvastatin after a stroke may be at an increased risk of hemorrhagic stroke, or bleeding in the brain, a risk not found in patients taking statins who have never had a stroke. ...

Recommended for you

Growing a blood vessel in a week

2 minutes ago

The technology for creating new tissues from stem cells has taken a giant leap forward. Three tablespoons of blood are all that is needed to grow a brand new blood vessel in just seven days. This is shown ...

Testing time for stem cells

2 hours ago

DefiniGEN is one of the first commercial opportunities to arise from Cambridge's expertise in stem cell research. Here, we look at some of the fundamental research that enables it to supply liver and pancreatic ...

Team finds key signaling pathway in cause of preeclampsia

22 hours ago

A team of researchers led by a Wayne State University School of Medicine associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology has published findings that provide novel insight into the cause of preeclampsia, the leading cause ...

Rapid test to diagnose severe sepsis

Oct 23, 2014

A new test, developed by University of British Columbia researchers, could help physicians predict within an hour if a patient will develop severe sepsis so they can begin treatment immediately.

User comments : 0