Extracellular Nicotinamide Phosphoribosyltransferase Is a Therapeutic Target in Experimental Necrotizing Enterocolitis

Melissa D Halpern, Akash Gupta, Nahla Zaghloul, Senthilkumar Thulasingam, Christine M. Calton, Sara M. Camp, Joe GN Garcia, Mohamed N Ahmed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) is the most common gastrointestinal emergency of prematurity. Postulated mechanisms leading to inflammatory necrosis of the ileum and colon include activation of the pathogen recognition receptor Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) and decreased levels of transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ). Extracellular nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (eNAMPT), a novel damage-associated molecular pattern (DAMP), is a TLR4 ligand and plays a role in a number of inflammatory disease processes. To test the hypothesis that eNAMPT is involved in NEC, an eNAMPT-neutralizing monoclonal antibody, ALT-100, was used in a well-established animal model of NEC. Preterm Sprague–Dawley pups delivered prematurely from timed-pregnant dams were exposed to hypoxia/hypothermia and randomized to control—foster mother dam-fed rats, injected IP with saline (vehicle) 48 h after delivery; control + mAB—foster dam-fed rats, injected IP with 10 µg of ALT-100 at 48 h post-delivery; NEC—orally gavaged, formula-fed rats injected with saline; and NEC + mAb—formula-fed rats, injected IP with 10 µg of ALT-100 at 48 h. The distal ileum was processed 96 h after C-section delivery for histological, biochemical, molecular, and RNA sequencing studies. Saline-treated NEC pups exhibited markedly increased fecal blood and histologic ileal damage compared to controls (q < 0.0001), and findings significantly reduced in ALT-100 mAb-treated NEC pups (q < 0.01). Real-time PCR in ileal tissues revealed increased NAMPT in NEC pups compared to pups that received the ALT-100 mAb (p < 0.01). Elevated serum levels of tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFα), interleukin 6 (IL-6), interleukin-8 (IL-8), and NAMPT were observed in NEC pups compared to NEC + mAb pups (p < 0.01). Finally, RNA-Seq confirmed dysregulated TGFβ and TLR4 signaling pathways in NEC pups that were attenuated by ALT-100 mAb treatment. These data strongly support the involvement of eNAMPT in NEC pathobiology and eNAMPT neutralization as a strategy to address the unmet need for NEC therapeutics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number970
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2024


  • ALT-100
  • DAMP
  • eNAMPT
  • extracellular nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase
  • NEC
  • necrotizing enterocolitis
  • TGFβ
  • TLR4

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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