Nicotinamide Riboside Alleviates Corneal and Somatic Hypersensitivity Induced by Paclitaxel in Male Rats

Marta V. Hamity, Sandra J. Kolker, Deborah M. Hegarty, Christopher Blum, Lucy Langmack, Sue A. Aicher, Donna L. Hammond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


PURPOSE. Patients receiving chemotherapy may experience ocular discomfort and dry eye-like symptoms; the latter may be neuropathic in nature. This study assessed corneal and somatic hypersensitivity in male rats treated with paclitaxel and whether it was relieved by nicotinamide riboside (NR). METHODS. Corneal sensitivity to tactile and chemical stimulation, basal tear production, and sensitivity of the hindpaw to tactile and cool stimuli were assessed before and after paclitaxel in the absence and presence of sustained treatment with 500 mg/kg per os NR. Corneal nerve density and hindpaw intraepidermal nerve fiber (IENF) density were also examined. RESULTS. Paclitaxel-treated rats developed corneal hypersensitivity to tactile stimuli, enhanced sensitivity to capsaicin but not hyperosmolar saline, and increased basal tear production. Corneal nerve density visualized with anti-β-tubulin or calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) was unaffected. Paclitaxel induced tactile and cool hypersensitivity of the hindpaw and a loss of nonpeptidergic hindpaw IENFs visualized with anti-protein gene product (PGP) 9.5 and CGRP. NR reversed tactile hypersensitivity of the cornea without suppressing tear production or chemosensitivity; it did not alter corneal afferent density. NR also reversed tactile and cool hypersensitivity of the hindpaw without reversing the loss of hindpaw IENFs. CONCLUSIONS. These findings suggest that paclitaxel may be a good translational model for chemotherapy-induced ocular discomfort and that NR may be useful for its relief. The ability of NR to relieve somatic tactile hypersensitivity independent of changes in sensory nerve innervation suggests that reversal of terminal arbor degeneration is not critical to the actions of NR.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number38
JournalInvestigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2022


  • Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy
  • Corneal hypersensitivity
  • Ocular discomfort
  • Paclitaxel
  • Pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ophthalmology
  • Sensory Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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