Recent advances highlight a pivotal role for cellular metabolism in programming immune responses. Here, we demonstrate that cell-autonomous generation of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+) via the kynurenine pathway (KP) regulates macrophage immune function in aging and inflammation. Isotope tracer studies revealed that macrophage NAD+ derives substantially from KP metabolism of tryptophan. Genetic or pharmacological blockade of de novo NAD+ synthesis depleted NAD+, suppressed mitochondrial NAD+-dependent signaling and respiration, and impaired phagocytosis and resolution of inflammation. Innate immune challenge triggered upstream KP activation but paradoxically suppressed cell-autonomous NAD+ synthesis by limiting the conversion of downstream quinolinate to NAD+, a profile recapitulated in aging macrophages. Increasing de novo NAD+ generation in immune-challenged or aged macrophages restored oxidative phosphorylation and homeostatic immune responses. Thus, KP-derived NAD+ operates as a metabolic switch to specify macrophage effector responses. Breakdown of de novo NAD+ synthesis may underlie declining NAD+ levels and rising innate immune dysfunction in aging and age-associated diseases.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Immunology and Allergy