SARS-CoV-2 infection dysregulates NAD metabolism

Amin Izadpanah, Joseph C. Mudd, Joe G.N. Garcia, Sudesh Srivastav, Mohamed Abdel-Mohsen, Clovis Palmer, Aaron R. Goldman, Jay K. Kolls, Xuebin Qin, Jay Rappaport

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Severe COVID-19 results initially in pulmonary infection and inflammation. Symptoms can persist beyond the period of acute infection, and patients with Post-Acute Sequelae of COVID (PASC) often exhibit a variety of symptoms weeks or months following acute phase resolution including continued pulmonary dysfunction, fatigue, and neurocognitive abnormalities. We hypothesized that dysregulated NAD metabolism contributes to these abnormalities. Methods: RNAsequencing of lungs from transgenic mice expressing human ACE2 (K18-hACE2) challenged with SARS-CoV-2 revealed upregulation of NAD biosynthetic enzymes, including NAPRT1, NMNAT1, NAMPT, and IDO1 6 days post-infection. Results: Our data also demonstrate increased gene expression of NAD consuming enzymes: PARP 9,10,14 and CD38. At the same time, SIRT1, a protein deacetylase (requiring NAD as a cofactor and involved in control of inflammation) is downregulated. We confirmed our findings by mining sequencing data from lungs of patients that died from SARS-CoV-2 infection. Our validated findings demonstrating increased NAD turnover in SARS-CoV-2 infection suggested that modulating NAD pathways may alter disease progression and may offer therapeutic benefits. Specifically, we hypothesized that treating K18-hACE2 mice with nicotinamide riboside (NR), a potent NAD precursor, may mitigate lethality and improve recovery from SARS-CoV-2 infection. We also tested the therapeutic potential of an anti- monomeric NAMPT antibody using the same infection model. Treatment with high dose anti-NAMPT antibody resulted in significantly decreased body weight compared to control, which was mitigated by combining HD anti-NAMPT antibody with NR. We observed a significant increase in lipid metabolites, including eicosadienoic acid, oleic acid, and palmitoyl carnitine in the low dose antibody + NR group. We also observed significantly increased nicotinamide related metabolites in NR treated animals. Discussion: Our data suggest that infection perturbs NAD pathways, identify novel mechanisms that may explain some pathophysiology of CoVID-19 and suggest novel strategies for both treatment and prevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1158455
JournalFrontiers in immunology
StatePublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • COVID-19
  • NAD
  • PASC
  • metabolism
  • sirtuins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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