Regulation of cell survival and death by pyridine nucleotides

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61 Scopus citations


Pyridine nucleotides (PNs), such as NAD(H) and NADP(H), mediate electron transfer in many catabolic and anabolic processes. In general, NAD and NADP receive electrons to become NADH and NADPH by coupling with catabolic processes. These electrons are utilized for biologically essential reactions such as ATP production, anabolism and cellular oxidation-reduction (redox) regulation. Thus, in addition to ATP, NADH and NADPH could be defined as high-energy intermediates and "molecular units of currency" in energy transfer. We discuss the significance of PNs as energy/electron transporters and signal transducers, in regulating cell death and/or survival processes. In the first part of this review, we describe the role of NADH and NADPH as electron donors for NADPH oxidases (Noxs), glutathione (GSH), and thioredoxin (Trx) systems in cellular redox regulation. Noxs produce superoxide/hydrogen peroxide yielding oxidative environment, whereas GSH and Trx systems protect against oxidative stress. We then describe the role of NAD + and NADH as signal transducers through NAD +-dependent enzymes such as PARP-1 and Sirt1. PARP-1 is activated by damaged DNA in order to repair the DNA, which attenuates energy production through NAD + consumption; Sirt1 is activated by an increased NAD +/NADH ratio to facilitate signal transduction for metabolic adaption as well as stress responses. We conclude that PNs serve as an important interface for distinct cellular responses, including stress response, energy metabolism, and cell survival/death.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)611-627
Number of pages17
JournalCirculation research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Aug 17 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


  • NAD+, sirtuins
  • NADPH oxidases
  • Nampt
  • PARP
  • apoptosis
  • necrosis
  • oxidative stress
  • signal transduction
  • thioredoxin

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