Hepatocyte-specific perturbation of NAD+ biosynthetic pathways in mice induces reversible nonalcoholic steatohepatitis-like phenotypes

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Nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (NAMPT) converts nicotinamide to NAD+. As low hepatic NAD+ levels have been linked to the development of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, we hypothesized that ablation of hepatic Nampt would affect susceptibility to liver injury in response to diet-induced metabolic stress. Following 3 weeks on a low-methionine and choline-free 60% high-fat diet, hepatocyte-specific Nampt knockout (HNKO) mice accumulated less triglyceride than WT littermates but had increased histological scores for liver inflammation, necrosis, and fibrosis. Surprisingly, liver injury was also observed in HNKO mice on the purified control diet. This HNKO phenotype was associated with decreased abundance of mitochondrial proteins, especially proteins involved in oxidoreductase activity. High-resolution respirometry revealed lower respiratory capacity in purified control diet- fed HNKO liver. In addition, fibrotic area in HNKO liver sections correlated negatively with hepatic NAD+, and liver injury was prevented by supplementation with NAD+ precursors nicotinamide riboside and nicotinic acid. MS-based proteomic analysis revealed that nicotinamide riboside supplementation rescued hepatic levels of oxidoreductase and OXPHOS proteins. Finally, single-nucleus RNA-Seq showed that transcriptional changes in the HNKO liver mainly occurred in hepatocytes, and changes in the hepatocyte transcriptome were associated with liver necrosis. In conclusion, HNKO livers have reduced respiratory capacity, decreased abundance of mitochondrial proteins, and are susceptible to fibrosis because of low NAD+ levels. Our data suggest a critical threshold level of hepatic NAD+ that determines the predisposition to liver injury and supports that NAD+ precursor supplementation can prevent liver injury and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease progression.

Original languageEnglish
Article number101388
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number6
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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