Indexed on: 24 Mar '10Published on: 24 Mar '10Published in: Mechanisms of Ageing and Development
Organism aging is a process of time and maturation culminating in senescence and death. The molecular details that define and determine aging have been intensely investigated. It has become appreciated that the process is partly an accumulation of random yet inevitable changes, but it can be strongly affected by genes that alter lifespan. In this review, we consider how NAD(+) metabolism plays important roles in the random patterns of aging, and also in the more programmatic aspects. The derivatives of NAD(+), such as reduced and oxidized forms of NAD(P)(+), play important roles in maintaining and regulating cellular redox state, Ca(2+) stores, DNA damage and repair, stress responses, cell cycle timing and lipid and energy metabolism. NAD(+) is also a substrate for signaling enzymes like the sirtuins and poly-ADP-ribosylpolymerases, members of a broad family of protein deacetylases and ADP-ribosyltransferases that regulate fundamental cellular processes such as transcription, recombination, cell division, proliferation, genome maintenance, apoptosis, stress resistance and senescence. NAD(+)-dependent enzymes are increasingly appreciated to regulate the timing of changes that lead to aging phenotypes. We consider how metabolism, specifically connected with Vitamin B3 and the nicotinamide adenine dinucleotides and their derivatives, occupies a central place in the aging processes of mammals.