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Vitamin D supplementation extends life in mouse model of Huntington’s disease

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Reprinted with the kind permission of Life Extension.

October 3 2016. A recent issue of Acta Neurobiologiae Experimentalis published the finding of researchers at Hungary's University of Szeged of an association between longer life span and supplementation with vitamin D in a transgenic mouse model of Huntington's disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disease.

The study included 24 mice bred to develop Huntington's disease symptoms and 16 normal mice. Each group was divided to receive vitamin D3 or an inert substance five times per week. Motor status was evaluated prior to treatment and periodically over the course of the study. Treatment continued until the death of all of the members of the Huntington's disease group.

While no effect on motor performance was observed in the Huntington disease group, vitamin D significantly increased their lifespan. Huntington's disease mice that did not receive vitamin D survived 67 to 94 days in comparison with 74 to 109 days in the treated animals–a 38% increase in median lifespan. According to the authors of the report, the increase is of a similar magnitude as that of other agents tested, including valproate and the combination of valproate and lithium. "Being the first in this field, the authors suggest the potential neuroprotective effect of vitamin D3 in a Huntington's disease model," they write. "This concept seems feasible based on the previously reported proposed protective actions of vitamin D3 against oxidative injury and neuroinflammation, in part via inhibiting the synthesis of inducible nitric oxide synthase, though the contribution of vitamin D receptor-linked neurotrophic effects as well as epigenetic modifications cannot be excluded."

"The results support the safety and the therapeutic potential of vitamin D3 as a supplementary treatment for Huntington's disease patients, especially for those with established vitamin D3 deficiency," they conclude.

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