Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) is an essential pyridine nucleotide that serves as an essential cofactor and substrate for a number of critical cellular processes involved in oxidative phosphorylation and ATP production, DNA repair, epigenetically modulated gene expression, intracellular calcium signaling, and immunological functions.
NAD+ depletion may occur in response to either excessive DNA damage due to free radical or ultraviolet attack, resulting in significant poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) activation and a high turnover and subsequent depletion of NAD+. Another cause of NAD+ depletion is chronic immune activation and inflammatory cytokine production resulting in accelerated CD38 activity and decline in NAD+ levels.
Recent studies have shown that enhancing NAD+ levels can profoundly reduce oxidative cell damage in catabolic tissue, including the brain. Therefore, promotion of intracellular NAD+ anabolism represents a promising therapeutic strategy for age-associated degenerative diseases in general, and is essential to the effective realization of multiple benefits of healthy sirtuin activity.
The kynurenine pathway represents the de novo NAD+ synthesis pathway in mammalian cells. NAD+ can also be produced by the NAD+ salvage pathway.