Intracellular NAD+ Depletion Confers a Priming Signal for NLRP3 Inflammasome Activation

Do Wan Shim, Hyo Joung Cho, Inhwa Hwang, Taek Yeol Jung, Hyun Seok Kim, Ju Hee Ryu, Je Wook Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) is an important cofactor in many redox and non-redox NAD+-consuming enzyme reactions. Intracellular NAD+ level steadily declines with age, but its role in the innate immune potential of myeloid cells remains elusive. In this study, we explored whether NAD+ depletion by FK866, a highly specific inhibitor of the NAD salvage pathway, can affect pattern recognition receptor-mediated responses in macrophages. NAD+-depleted mouse bone marrow-derived macrophages (BMDMs) exhibited similar levels of proinflammatory cytokine production in response to LPS or poly (I:C) stimulation compared with untreated cells. Instead, FK866 facilitated robust caspase-1 activation in BMDMs in the presence of NLRP3-activating signals such as ATP and nigericin, a potassium ionophore. However, this FK866-mediated caspase-1 activation was completely abolished in Nlrp3-deficient macrophages. FK866 plus nigericin stimulation caused an NLRP3-dependent assembly of inflammasome complex. In contrast, restoration of NAD+ level by supplementation with nicotinamide mononucleotide abrogated the FK866-mediated caspase-1 cleavage. FK866 did not induce or increase the expression levels of NLRP3 and interleukin (IL)-1β but drove mitochondrial retrograde transport into the perinuclear region. FK866-nigericin-induced mitochondrial transport is critical for caspase-1 cleavage in macrophages. Consistent with the in vitro experiments, intradermal coinjection of FK866 and ATP resulted in robust IL-1β expression and caspase-1 activation in the skin of wild-type, but not Nlrp3-deficient mice. Collectively, our data suggest that NAD+ depletion provides a non-transcriptional priming signal for NLRP3 activation via mitochondrial perinuclear clustering, and aging-associated NAD+ decline can trigger NLRP3 inflammasome activation in ATP-rich environments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number765477
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
StatePublished - 20 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
Copyright © 2021 Shim, Cho, Hwang, Jung, Kim, Ryu and Yu.


  • NAD
  • aging
  • inflammasome
  • macrophage
  • proinflammatory


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