CA1 Nampt knockdown recapitulates hippocampal cognitive phenotypes in old mice which nicotinamide mononucleotide improves

Sean Johnson, David F. Wozniak, S. Imai

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9 Scopus citations


Cognitive dysfunction is one of the most concerning outcomes in global population aging. However, the mechanisms by which cognitive functions are impaired during aging remain elusive. It has been established that NAD+ levels are reduced in multiple tissues and organs, including the brain. We found that NAD+ levels declined in the hippocampus of mice during the course of aging, and whereas we observed minimal age-related effects on spatial learning/memory capabilities in old mice, we discovered that they developed cognitive hypersensitivity in response to aversive stimulation during contextual fear conditioning tests. This cognitive hypersensitivity appears to be associated with alterations in emotionality (fear/anxiety) and sensory processing (shock sensitivity), rather than reflect genuine conditioning/retention effects, during aging. Supplementation of nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) improved the sensory processing aspect of the hypersensitivity and possibly other related behaviors. Specific knockdown of nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (Nampt) in the CA1 region, but not in the dentate gyrus, recapitulates this cognitive hypersensitivity observed in old mice. We identified calcium/calmodulin-dependent serine protein kinase (Cask) as a potential downstream effector in response to age-associated NAD+ reduction in the hippocampus. Cask expression is responsive to NAD+ changes and also reduced in the hippocampus during aging. Short-term NMN supplementation can enhance Cask expression in the hippocampus of old mice. Its promoter activity is regulated in a Sirt1-dependent manner. Taken together, NAD+ reduction in the CA1 region contributes to development of age-associated cognitive dysfunction, aspects of which may be prevented or treated by enhancing NAD+ availability through supplementation of NAD+ intermediates, such as NMN.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10
Journalnpj Aging and Mechanisms of Disease
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

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