Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) is an important co-factor involved in numerous physiological processes, including metabolism, post-translational protein modification, and DNA repair. In living organisms, a careful balance between NAD production and degradation serves to regulate NAD levels. Recently, a number of studies have demonstrated that NAD levels decrease with age, and the deterioration of NAD metabolism promotes several aging-associated diseases, including metabolic and neurodegenerative diseases and various cancers. Conversely, the upregulation of NAD metabolism, including dietary supplementation with NAD precursors, has been shown to prevent the decline of NAD and exhibits beneficial effects against aging and aging-associated diseases. In addition, many studies have demonstrated that genetic and/or nutritional activation of NAD metabolism can extend the lifespan of diverse organisms. Collectively, it is clear that NAD metabolism plays important roles in aging and longevity. In this review, we summarize the basic functions of the enzymes involved in NAD synthesis and degradation, as well as the outcomes of their dysregulation in various aging processes. In addition, a particular focus is given on the role of NAD metabolism in the longevity of various organisms, with a discussion of the remaining obstacles in this research field.
Keywords: Aging; Aging-associated disease; Longevity; NAD; Nampt; Nmnat.
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