Efficient synthesis of NAD+ is critical to maintaining cell viability in all organs of the body. However, little is known of the pathway(s) by which cells of the central nervous system produce NAD+. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship, between tryptophan degradation via the kynurenine pathway (KP) and de novo NAD+ synthesis in human astrocytes, a major cell type within the brain. In this study we observed that inhibition of single enzymes of the KP resulted in significant decreases in NAD+ levels in astroglial cells after a 24 hr period. We also observed that astrocytes cultured in media deficient in tryptophan, nicotinic acid and nicotinamide resulted in a 50% decrease in NAD+ levels after 24 hrs. This decrease in NAD+ was partially restored by supplementation of the culture media with either tryptophan or kynurenine, or nicotinic acid or with supply of the salvage pathway precursor nicotinamide.
Grant, Ross; Nguyen, Susan; and Guillemin, Gilles, "Kynurenine Pathway Metabolism is Involved in the Maintenance of the Intracellular NAD+ Concentration in Human Primary Astrocytes" (2010). Nursing and Health Papers and Journal Articles. 15.