Even with improvements in medical treatments in the past two decades, the needle has hardly moved for the mortality rate from intracerebral hemorrhage — an emergency condition in which a ruptured blood vessel causes bleeding inside the brain.

Now, a research team from Shanghai Jiao Tong University shows that injections of nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) significantly reduce mortality from stroke and promote functional recovery from stroke in mice. “NMN can effectively improve the damage of intracerebral hemorrhage to mice tissues, cells, and nerves, and improve the survival of mice,” concluded Shu and colleagues.

NMN protects mouse brains from intracerebral hemorrhage

In this study, Shu and colleagues injected NMN (500 mg/kg) once a day for more than one week in mice with intracerebral hemorrhage. Following this treatment, the Shanghai-based research team examined the recovery in body weight, neurological function, and cell stress of these mice.

Shu and colleagues found that NMN aided brain cells (neurons) cells from becoming stressed in response to intracerebral hemorrhage. The research team from Shanghai Jiao Tong University also saw improvements in the neurological function of mice with intracerebral hemorrhage treated with NMN.

(Shu et al., 2020 | Saudi J Biol Sci) NMN improved neurological function in mice with intracerebral hemorrhage. Just after one day of administration, mice with intracerebral hemorrhage treated with NMN (cICH+NMN) performed better on a beam walking test, which tests for neurological function, that untreated mice (cICH).

What’s more, Shu and colleagues showed that NMN improved the survival of brain cells (neurons) following intracerebral hemorrhage. Cell death of neurons decreases with NMN administration following intracerebral hemorrhage in mice.

(Shu et al., 2020 | Saudi J Biol Sci) NMN prevents brain cell death in response to intracerebral hemorrhage in mice. The team counted individual dead cells using a method called TUNEL staining. In the area where blood pools between the brain and the brain’s outermost covering from the stroke, the scientists observe a higher concentration of TUNEL staining.

The results show that the protective effect of NMN on … ICH in mice is significantly better than that of the other two groups, mainly in neurological function, brain edema, inflammatory factors, body weight, and cell [death] of mice,” conclude Shu and colleagues. This study shows that NMN could be key in developing new strategies to treat intracerebral hemorrhage stroke.

However, there are some major limitations in this study. For instance, Shu and colleagues use too few samples to generate convincing results. These experiments need to be repeated with more samples to better establish the ability of NMN to protect brain tissue and function.