Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) is an essential coenzyme that regulates cellular energy metabolism in many cell types. The major purpose of the present study was to test the hypothesis that NAD+ in white adipose tissue (WAT) is a regulator of whole-body metabolic flexibility in response to changes in insulin sensitivity and with respect to substrate availability and use during feeding and fasting conditions. To this end, we first evaluated the relationship between WAT NAD+ concentration and metabolic flexibility in mice and humans. We found that WAT NAD+ concentration was increased in mice after calorie restriction and exercise, 2 enhancers of metabolic flexibility. Bariatric surgery-induced 20% weight loss increased plasma adiponectin concentration, skeletal muscle insulin sensitivity, and WAT NAD+ concentration in people with obesity. We next analyzed adipocyte-specific nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (Nampt) knockout (ANKO) mice, which have markedly decreased NAD+ concentrations in WAT. ANKO mice oxidized more glucose during the light period and after fasting than control mice. In contrast, the normal postprandial stimulation of glucose oxidation and suppression of fat oxidation were impaired in ANKO mice. Data obtained from RNA-sequencing of WAT suggest that loss of NAMPT increases inflammation, and impairs insulin sensitivity, glucose oxidation, lipolysis, branched-chain amino acid catabolism, and mitochondrial function in WAT, which are features of metabolic inflexibility. These results demonstrate a novel function of WAT NAMPT-mediated NAD+ biosynthesis in regulating whole-body metabolic flexibility, and provide new insights into the role of adipose tissue NAD+ biology in metabolic health.
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