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Curr Top Med Chem. 2015;15(21):2211-21.

The Role of Nicotinamide Phosphoribosyltransferase in Cerebral Ischemia.

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Department of Neurology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, USA.


As recombinant tissue plasminogen activator is the only drug approved for the clinical treatment of acute ischemic stroke, there is an urgent unmet need for novel stroke treatments. Endogenous defense mechanisms against stroke may hold the key to new therapies for stroke. A large number of studies suggest that nicotinamide phosphoribosyl-transferase (NAMPT is an attractive candidate to improve post-stroke recovery. NAMPT is a multifunctional protein and plays important roles in immunity, metabolism, aging, inflammation, and stress responses. NAMPT exists in both the intracellular and extracellular space. As a rate-limiting enzyme, the intracellular form (iNAMPT catalyzes the first step in the biosynthesis of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD from nicotinamide. iNAMPT closely regulates energy metabolism, enhancing the proliferation of endothelial cells, inhibiting apoptosis, regulating vascular tone, and stimulating autophagy in disease conditions such as stroke. Extracellular NAMPT (eNAMPT is also known as visfatin (visceral fat-derived adipokine and has pleotropic effects. It is widely believed that the diverse biological functions of eNAMPT are attributed to its NAMPT enzymatic activity. However, the effects of eNAMPT on ischemic injury are still controversial. Some authors have argued that eNAMPT exacerbates ischemic neuronal injury non-enzymatically by triggering the release of TNF-α from glial cells. In addition, NAMPT also participates in several pathophysiological processes such as hypertension, atherosclerosis, and ischemic heart disease. Thus, it remains unclear under what conditions NAMPT is beneficial or destructive. Recent work using in vitro and in vivo genetic/ pharmacologic manipulations, including our own studies, has greatly improved our understanding of NAMPT. This review focuses on the multifaceted and complex roles of NAMPT under both normal and ischemic conditions.

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