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    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. The balance between its utilization and resynthesis is vitally important. Many extra-pulmonary symptoms of COVID-19 strikingly resemble those of pellagra, vitamin B3 deficiency (e.g., diarrhoea, dermatitis, oral cavity and tongue manifestations, loss of smell and taste, mental confusion). In most developed countries, pellagra is successfully eradicated by vitamin B3 fortification programs. Thus, conceivably, it has not been suspected as a cause of COVID-19 symptoms. 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.


    Renata Novak Kujundžić. COVID-19: Are We Facing Secondary Pellagra Which Cannot Simply Be Cured by Vitamin B3? International journal of molecular sciences. 2022 Apr 13;23(8)

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    PMID: 35457123

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