Focus upon therapeutic strategies that intersect between pathways that govern cellular metabolism and cellular survival may offer the greatest impact for the treatment of a number of neurodegenerative and metabolic disorders, such as diabetes mellitus. In this regard, we investigated the role of a Drosophila nicotinamidase (DN) in mammalian SHSY5Y neuronal cells during oxidative stress. We demonstrate that during free radical exposure to nitric oxide generators DN neuronal expression significantly increased cell survival and blocked cellular membrane injury. Furthermore, DN neuronal expression prevented both apoptotic late DNA degradation and early phosphatidylserine exposure that may serve to modulate inflammatory cell activation in vivo. Nicotinamidase activity that limited nicotinamide cellular concentrations appeared to be necessary for DN neuroprotection, since application of progressive nicotinamide concentrations could abrogate the benefits of DN expression during oxidative stress. Pathways that involved sirtuin activation and SIRT1 were suggested to be vital, at least in part, for DN to confer protection through a series of studies. First, application of resveratrol increased cell survival during oxidative stress either alone or in conjunction with the expression of DN to a similar degree, suggesting that DN may rely upon SIRT1 activation to foster neuronal protection. Second, the overexpression of either SIRT1 or DN in neurons prevented apoptotic injury specifically in neurons expressing these proteins during oxidative stress, advancing the premise that DN and SIRT1 may employ similar pathways for neuronal protection. Third, inhibition of sirtuin activity with sirtinol was detrimental to neuronal survival during oxidative stress and prevented neuronal protection during overexpression of DN or SIRT1, further supporting that SIRT1 activity may be necessary for DN neuroprotection during oxidative stress. Implementation of further work to elucidate the cellular mechanisms that govern nicotinamidase activity in mammalian cells may offer novel avenues for the treatment of disorders tied to oxidative stress and cellular metabolic dysfunction.
Keywords: Apoptosis, neuron, nicotinamidase, oxidative stress, phosphatidylserine, resveratrol, sirtinol, sirtuin, SIRT1
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