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DNA Repair (Amst). 2014 Nov;23:59-63. doi: 10.1016/j.dnarep.2014.04.005. Epub 2014 Apr 30.

The evolving role of the NAD+/nicotinamide metabolome in skin homeostasis, cellular bioenergetics, and aging.

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Beauty Technology Division, The Procter & Gamble Company, Cincinnati, OH, USA. Electronic address:


Human skin is exposed to daily environmental insults, particularly solar radiation, that triggers a range of molecular responses. These perturbations to the normal homeostatic state can lead to cellular dysfunction and, ultimately, impacts tissue integrity and accelerates skin aging (photoaging). One of the responses is increased oxidative stress which has been shown to disrupt cellular bioenergetics. This can be detected by depletion of the nucleotide energy metabolites NAD+ and ATP as both an acute transient decrease and, over time, a more permanent chronic reduction due in part to cumulative damage of mitochondria. NAD+ and its primary precursor nicotinamide have been known for some time to impact skin homeostasis based on linkages to dietary requirements, treatment of various inflammatory conditions, photoaging, and prevention of cancer. Cellular NAD+ pools are known to be lower in aged skin and treatment with nicotinamide is hypothesized to restore these levels, thereby mitigating cellular bioenergetics dysfunction. In dermal fibroblasts, nicotinamide is able to protect against oxidative stress to glycolysis, oxidative phosphorylation as well as increase mitochondrial efficiency via sirtuin-dependent selective mitophagy. Recent research has found that NAD+ cellular pools are more dynamic than previously thought, oscillating in tandem with free nicotinamide, and serves as a regulatory point and feedback loop in cellular metabolism regulation, maintenance of mitochondrial efficiency, and circadian rhythmicity. Since UV-induced oxidative stress in skin can disrupt these processes, continued molecular understanding of the role of NAD+ and nicotinamide in skin biology is important to identify interventions that would help maintain its normal homeostatic functions and efficient cellular bioenergetics.


Aging; Cellular bioenergetics; Glycolysis; Mitochondria; NAD+; Nicotinamide; Oxidative phosphorylation; Oxidative stress; Photoaging; Skin

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