Head to Head Comparison of Short-Term Treatment with the NAD(+) Precursor Nicotinamide Mononucleotide (NMN) and 6 Weeks of Exercise in Obese Female Mice

Front Pharmacol. 2016 Aug 19:7:258. doi: 10.3389/fphar.2016.00258. eCollection 2016.


Obesity is well known to be a major cause of several chronic metabolic diseases, which can be partially counteracted by exercise. This is due, in part, to an upregulation of mitochondrial activity through increased nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD(+)). Recent studies have shown that NAD(+) levels can be increased by using the NAD(+) precursor, nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) leading to the suggestion that NMN could be a useful intervention in diet related metabolic disorders. In this study we compared the metabolic, and especially mitochondrial-associated, effects of exercise and NMN in ameliorating the consequences of high-fat diet (HFD) induced obesity in mice. Sixty female 5 week old C57BL6/J mice were allocated across five groups: Chow sedentary: CS; Chow exercise: CEX; HFD sedentary: HS; HFD NMN: HNMN; HFD exercise: HEX (12/group). After 6 weeks of diet, exercise groups underwent treadmill exercise (15 m/min for 45 min), 6 days per week for 6 weeks. NMN or vehicle (500 mg/kg body weight) was injected (i.p.) daily for the last 17 days. No significant alteration in body weight was observed in response to exercise or NMN. The HFD significantly altered adiposity, glucose tolerance, plasma insulin, NADH levels and citrate synthase activity in muscle and liver. HEX and HNMN groups both showed significantly improved glucose tolerance compared to the HS group. NAD(+) levels were increased significantly both in muscle and liver by NMN whereas exercise increased NAD(+) only in muscle. Both NMN and exercise ameliorated the HFD-induced reduction in liver citrate synthase activity. However, exercise, but not NMN, ameliorated citrate synthase activity in muscle. Overall these data suggest that while exercise and NMN-supplementation can induce similar reversal of the glucose intolerance induced by obesity, they are associated with tissue-specific effects and differential alterations to mitochondrial function in muscle and liver.

Keywords: C57BL6 female mice; high fat diet; liver; mitochondria; muscle; nicotinamide mononucleotide; treadmill exercise.