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COVID-19: Are We Facing Secondary Pellagra Which Cannot Simply Be Cured by Vitamin B3?

International Journal of Molecular Science

April 13, 2022

Kujundzik, Renata


Immune response to SARS-CoV-2 and ensuing inflammation pose a huge challenge to the host’s nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) metabolism. Humans depend on vitamin B3 for biosynthesis of NAD+, indispensable for many metabolic and NAD+-consuming signaling reactions...Here, the deregulation of the NAD+ metabolism in response to the SARS-CoV-2 infection is reviewed, with special emphasis on the differences in the NAD+ biosynthetic pathway’s efficiency in conditions predisposing for the development of serious COVID-19. SARS-CoV-2 infection-induced NAD+ depletion and the elevated levels of its metabolites contribute to the development of a systemic disease. Acute liberation of nicotinamide (NAM) in antiviral NAD+-consuming reactions potentiates “NAM drain”, cooperatively mediated by nicotinamide N-methyltransferase and aldehyde oxidase. “NAM drain” compromises the NAD+ salvage pathway’s fail-safe function. The robustness of the host’s NAD+ salvage pathway, prior to the SARS-CoV-2 infection, is an important determinant of COVID-19 severity and persistence of certain symptoms upon resolution of infection.

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