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Clin Transl Med. 2016 Dec;5(1):25. doi: 10.1186/s40169-016-0104-7. Epub 2016 Jul 27.

Emerging therapeutic roles for NAD(+) metabolism in mitochondrial and age-related disorders.

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Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute, 2 Riverside Circle, Roanoke, VA, 24016, USA.


Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD(+)) is a central metabolic cofactor in eukaryotic cells that plays a critical role in regulating cellular metabolism and energy homeostasis. NAD(+) in its reduced form (i.e. NADH) serves as the primary electron donor in mitochondrial respiratory chain, which involves adenosine triphosphate production by oxidative phosphorylation. The NAD(+)/NADH ratio also regulates the activity of various metabolic pathway enzymes such as those involved in glycolysis, Kreb's cycle, and fatty acid oxidation. Intracellular NAD(+) is synthesized de novo from L-tryptophan, although its main source of synthesis is through salvage pathways from dietary niacin as precursors. NAD(+) is utilized by various proteins including sirtuins, poly ADP-ribose polymerases (PARPs) and cyclic ADP-ribose synthases. The NAD(+) pool is thus set by a critical balance between NAD(+) biosynthetic and NAD(+) consuming pathways. Raising cellular NAD(+) content by inducing its biosynthesis or inhibiting the activity of PARP and cADP-ribose synthases via genetic or pharmacological means lead to sirtuins activation. Sirtuins modulate distinct metabolic, energetic and stress response pathways, and through their activation, NAD(+) directly links the cellular redox state with signaling and transcriptional events. NAD(+) levels decline with mitochondrial dysfunction and reduced NAD(+)/NADH ratio is implicated in mitochondrial disorders, various age-related pathologies as well as during aging. Here, I will provide an overview of the current knowledge on NAD(+) metabolism including its biosynthesis, utilization, compartmentalization and role in the regulation of metabolic homoeostasis. I will further discuss how augmenting intracellular NAD(+) content increases oxidative metabolism to prevent bioenergetic and functional decline in multiple models of mitochondrial diseases and age-related disorders, and how this knowledge could be translated to the clinic for human relevance.


Age-related disorders; Metabolism; Mitochondrial disorders; Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide; Nicotinamide riboside; Oxidative phosphorylation; Sirtuins

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