NAD+/NADH and NADP+/NADPH in cellular functions and cell death: regulation and biological consequences

Antioxid Redox Signal. 2008 Feb;10(2):179-206. doi: 10.1089/ars.2007.1672.


Accumulating evidence has suggested that NAD (including NAD+ and NADH) and NADP (including NADP+ and NADPH) could belong to the fundamental common mediators of various biological processes, including energy metabolism, mitochondrial functions, calcium homeostasis, antioxidation/generation of oxidative stress, gene expression, immunological functions, aging, and cell death: First, it is established that NAD mediates energy metabolism and mitochondrial functions; second, NADPH is a key component in cellular antioxidation systems; and NADH-dependent reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation from mitochondria and NADPH oxidase-dependent ROS generation are two critical mechanisms of ROS generation; third, cyclic ADP-ribose and several other molecules that are generated from NAD and NADP could mediate calcium homeostasis; fourth, NAD and NADP modulate multiple key factors in cell death, such as mitochondrial permeability transition, energy state, poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1, and apoptosis-inducing factor; and fifth, NAD and NADP profoundly affect aging-influencing factors such as oxidative stress and mitochondrial activities, and NAD-dependent sirtuins also mediate the aging process. Moreover, many recent studies have suggested novel paradigms of NAD and NADP metabolism. Future investigation into the metabolism and biological functions of NAD and NADP may expose fundamental properties of life, and suggest new strategies for treating diseases and slowing the aging process.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Death / physiology*
  • Cell Physiological Phenomena*
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • NAD / metabolism*
  • NADP / metabolism*
  • Oxidation-Reduction


  • NAD
  • NADP