Review: NAD +: a modulator of immune functions

Innate Immun. 2011 Apr;17(2):212-33. doi: 10.1177/1753425910361989. Epub 2010 Apr 13.


Latterly, nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) has emerged as a molecule with versatile functions and of enormous impact on the maintenance of cell integrity. Besides playing key roles in almost all major aspects of energy metabolism, there is mounting evidence that NAD+ and its degradation products affect various biological activities including calcium homeostasis, gene transcription, DNA repair, and intercellular communication. This review is aimed at giving a brief insight into the life cycle of NAD+ in the cell, referring to synthesis, action and degradation aspects. With respect to their immunological relevance, the importance and function of the major NAD+ metabolizing enzymes, namely CD38/CD157, ADP-ribosyltransferases (ARTs), poly-ADP-ribose-polymerases (PARPs), and sirtuins are summarized and roles of NAD+ and its main degradation product adenosine 5'-diphosphoribose (ADPR) in cell signaling are discussed. In addition, an outline of the variety of immunological processes depending on the activity of nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (Nampt), the key enzyme of the salvage pathway of NAD+ synthesis, is presented. Taken together, an efficient supply of NAD+ seems to be a crucial need for a multitude of cell functions, underlining the yet only partly revealed potency of this small molecule to influence cell fate.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • ADP Ribose Transferases / immunology
  • Animals
  • Cell Communication*
  • Energy Metabolism / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunomodulation*
  • NAD / immunology*
  • Nicotinamide Phosphoribosyltransferase / metabolism
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerases / metabolism
  • Sirtuins / metabolism


  • NAD
  • ADP Ribose Transferases
  • Nicotinamide Phosphoribosyltransferase
  • Poly(ADP-ribose) Polymerases
  • Sirtuins