The effect of NAMPT deletion in projection neurons on the function and structure of neuromuscular junction (NMJ) in mice

Sci Rep. 2020 Jan 9;10(1):99. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-57085-4.


Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) plays a critical role in energy metabolism and bioenergetic homeostasis. Most NAD+ in mammalian cells is synthesized via the NAD+ salvage pathway, where nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (NAMPT) is the rate-limiting enzyme, converting nicotinamide into nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN). Using a Thy1-Nampt-/- projection neuron conditional knockout (cKO) mouse, we studied the impact of NAMPT on synaptic vesicle cycling in the neuromuscular junction (NMJ), end-plate structure of NMJs and muscle contractility of semitendinosus muscles. Loss of NAMPT impaired synaptic vesicle endocytosis/exocytosis in the NMJs. The cKO mice also had motor endplates with significantly reduced area and thickness. When the cKO mice were treated with NMN, vesicle endocytosis/exocytosis was improved and endplate morphology was restored. Electrical stimulation induced muscle contraction was significantly impacted in the cKO mice in a frequency dependent manner. The cKO mice were unresponsive to high frequency stimulation (100 Hz), while the NMN-treated cKO mice responded similarly to the control mice. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) revealed sarcomere misalignment and changes to mitochondrial morphology in the cKO mice, with NMN treatment restoring sarcomere alignment but not mitochondrial morphology. This study demonstrates that neuronal NAMPT is important for pre-/post-synaptic NMJ function, and maintaining skeletal muscular function and structure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytokines / physiology*
  • Female
  • Homeostasis
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Mitochondria / pathology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / pathology*
  • Neuromuscular Junction / metabolism
  • Neuromuscular Junction / pathology*
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neurons / pathology*
  • Nicotinamide Phosphoribosyltransferase / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission*


  • Cytokines
  • Nicotinamide Phosphoribosyltransferase
  • nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase, mouse