Depletion of NADP(H) due to CD38 activation triggers endothelial dysfunction in the postischemic heart

Levy A. Reyes, James Boslett, Saradhadevi Varadharaj, Francesco De Pascali, Craig Hemann, Lawrence J. Druhan, Giuseppe Ambrosio, Mohamed El-Mahdy, Jay L. Zweier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


In the postischemic heart, coronary vasodilation is impaired due to loss of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) function. Although the eNOS cofactor tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4) is depleted, its repletion only partially restores eNOS-mediated coronary vasodilation, indicating that other critical factors trigger endothelial dysfunction. Therefore, studies were performed to characterize the unidentified factor(s) that trigger endothelial dysfunction in the postischemic heart. We observed that depletion of the eNOS substrate NADPH occurs in the postischemic heart with near total depletion from the endothelium, triggering impaired eNOS function and limiting BH4 rescue through NADPH-dependent salvage pathways. In isolated rat hearts subjected to 30 min of ischemia and reperfusion (I/R), depletion of the NADP(H) pool occurred and was most marked in the endothelium, with >85% depletion. Repletion of NADPH after I/R increased NOS-dependent coronary flow well above thatwith BH4 alone.With combined NADPH and BH4 repletion, full restoration of NOS-dependent coronary flow occurred. Profound endothelial NADPH depletion was identified to be due to marked activation of the NAD(P)ase-activity of CD38 and could be prevented by inhibition or specific knockdown of this protein. Depletion of the NADPH precursor, NADP+, coincided with formation of 2′-phospho-ADP ribose, a CD38-derived signaling molecule. Inhibition of CD38 prevented NADP(H) depletion and preserved endothelium- dependent relaxation and NO generation with increased recovery of contractile function and decreased infarction in the postischemic heart. Thus, CD38 activation is an important cause of postischemic endothelial dysfunction and presents a novel therapeutic target for prevention of this dysfunction in unstable coronary syndromes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11648-11653
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number37
StatePublished - Sep 15 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Endothelial dysfunction
  • Endothelial nitric oxide synthase
  • Ischemia reperfusion injury
  • Nitric oxide
  • Tetrahydrobiopterin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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