Eliciting the mitochondrial unfolded protein response via NAD+ repletion reverses fatty liver disease
With no approved pharmacological treatment, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is now the most common cause of chronic liver disease inWestern countries and its worldwide prevalence continues to increase along with the growing obesity epidemic. Here, we show that a high-fat high-sucrose (HFHS) diet, eliciting chronic hepatosteatosis resembling human fatty liver, lowers hepatic nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD(+)) levels driving reductions in hepatic mitochondrial content, function, and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) levels, in conjunction with robust increases in hepatic weight, lipid content, and peroxidation in C57BL/6J mice. To assess the effect of NAD(+) repletion on the development of steatosis in mice, nicotinamide riboside, a precursor of NAD(+) biosynthesis, was added to theHFHS diet, either as a preventive strategy or as a therapeutic intervention. We demonstrate that NR prevents and reverts NAFLD by inducing a sirtuin (SIRT)1- and SIRT3-dependent mitochondrial unfolded protein response, triggering an adaptive mitohormetic pathway to increase hepatic beta-oxidation and mitochondrial complex content and activity. The cell-autonomous beneficial component of NR treatment was revealed in liver-specific Sirt1 knockout mice (Sirt1(hep-/-)), whereas apolipoprotein E-deficient mice (Apoe(-/-)) challenged with a high-fat high-cholesterol diet affirmed the use of NR in other independent models of NAFLD. Conclusion: Our data warrant the future evaluation of NAD(+) boosting strategies to manage the development or progression of NAFLD.