(NAD+, in red, on an enzyme. Image from https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/researchers-find-clue-repair-aging-dna).
Researchers from Harvard Medical School set out to explore the aging process in mouse models. Through their research, they found that NAD+, an important electron carrier used in the cellular respiration process, plays a unique role in the aging process.
In the cell, PARP1 is known to play a role in the repair of damaged DNA. Another protein, DBC1, has been shown to inhibit the activity of PARP1. NAD+ has been shown to inactivate DBC1 (illustrated in picture above). By increasing levels of NAD+ in older mice, the researchers saw a a restoration of PARP1 and a decrease in damaged DNA. Further research is needed to see if this holds true for human subjects as well. In addition to slowing aging, this has the potential for use in patients undergoing chemotherapy, aiding patients exposed to radiation, and helping to prevent mutations that could lead to cancer.
In lecture, we have previously reviewed types of mutations and the effects of harmful mutations. This serves as a practical application of that.
Below is the link to the actual paper.