Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide

January 05, 2015
Image of Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide 3D Image of Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide

icotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) consists of nicotinamide and adenine nucleotides joined by a diphosphate moiety. It exists in an oxidized form, NAD+(shown), and a reduced form, NADH. Also known as coenzyme 1, it is present in all living cells.

NAD has several biochemical functions:

  • a coenzyme in redox reactions,
  • an ADP-ribose donor in ADP-ribosylation reactions,
  • a precursor of the second messenger molecule cyclic ADP-ribose, and
  • a substrate for bacterial DNA ligases and sirtuin enzymes that use NAD+ for protein deacetylation.

Recently, S. G. Tullius at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and a team of researchers found that NAD+ may help protect against autoimmune diseases by regulating how CD4+ T cells differentiate. They showed that NAD+ can block and reverse the progression of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), a mouse model of human multiple sclerosis, by promoting myelination and neural tissue regeneration.

The study uncovers the role and underlying mechanism of NAD+ in the immune response. NAD+ protects against EAE by altering T-cell differentiation via a noncanonical enzymatic pathway. 

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