Enhancing NAD+ salvage pathway reverts the toxicity of primary astrocytes expressing amyotrophic lateral sclerosis-linked mutant SOD1

Harlan, B. A., Pehar, M., Sharma, D. R., Beeson, G., Beeson, C. C., & Vargas, M. R.

Journal of Biological Chemistry (2016): jbc-M115.

Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD(+)) participates in redox reactions and NAD(+)-dependent signaling pathways. Although the redox reactions are critical for efficient mitochondrial metabolism, they are not accompanied by any net consumption of the nucleotide. On the contrary, NAD(+)-dependent signaling processes lead to its degradation. Three distinct families of enzymes consume NAD(+) as substrate: poly(ADP-ribose) polymerases, ADP-ribosyl cyclases (CD38 and CD157), and sirtuins (SIRT1-7). Because all of the above enzymes generate nicotinamide as a byproduct, mammalian cells have evolved an NAD(+) salvage pathway capable of resynthesizing NAD(+) from nicotinamide. Overexpression of the rate-limiting enzyme in this pathway, nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase, increases total and mitochondrial NAD(+) levels in astrocytes. Moreover, targeting nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase to the mitochondria also enhances NAD(+) salvage pathway in astrocytes. Supplementation with the NAD(+) precursors nicotinamide mononucleotide and nicotinamide riboside also increases NAD(+) levels in astrocytes. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is caused by the progressive degeneration of motor neurons in the spinal cord, brain stem, and motor cortex. Superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1) mutations account for up to 20% of familial ALS and 1-2% of apparently sporadic ALS cases. Primary astrocytes isolated from mutant human superoxide dismutase 1-overexpressing mice as well as human post-mortem ALS spinal cord-derived astrocytes induce motor neuron death in co-culture. Increasing total and mitochondrial NAD(+) content in ALS astrocytes increases oxidative stress resistance and reverts their toxicity toward co-cultured motor neurons. Taken together, our results suggest that enhancing the NAD(+) salvage pathway in astrocytes could be a potential therapeutic target to prevent astrocyte-mediated motor neuron death in ALS.

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