Frontiers in Bioscience-Landmark (FBL) is published by IMR Press from Volume 26 Issue 5 (2021). Previous articles were published by another publisher on a subscription basis, and they are hosted by IMR Press on imrpress.com as a courtesy and upon agreement with Frontiers in Bioscience.
Navigating novel mechanisms of cellular plasticity with the NAD+ precursor and nutrient nicotinamide
Interest in neuroprotectants for the central nervous system continues to garner significant attention. Nicotinamide, the amide form of niacin (vitamin B3), is the precursor for the coenzyme β-nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) and is considered to be necessary for cellular function and metabolism. However, recent work has focused on the development of nicotinamide as a novel agent that is critical for modulating cellular plasticity, longevity, and inflammatory microglial function. The ability of nicotinamide to preserve both neuronal and vascular cell populations in the brain during injury is intriguing, but further knowledge of the specific cellular mechanisms that determine protection by this agent is required. The capacity of nicotinamide to govern not only intrinsic cellular integrity, but also extrinsic cellular inflammation rests with the modulation of a host of cellular targets that involve protein kinase B, glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β), Forkhead transcription factors, mitochondrial dysfunction, poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase, cysteine proteases, and microglial activation. Intimately tied to the cytoprotection of nicotinamide is the modulation of an early and late phase of apoptotic injury that is triggered by the loss of membrane asymmetry. Identifying robust cytoprotective agents as nicotinamide in conjunction with the elucidation of the cellular mechanisms responsible for cell survival will continue to solidify the development of therapeutic strategies against neurodegenerative diseases.