• deacetylation;
  • diabetes;
  • miR-34a;
  • resveratrol;
  • sirtuins;
  • steatosis


SIRT1 is an NAD+-dependent deacetylase that is implicated in prevention of many age-related diseases including metabolic disorders. As SIRT1 deacetylase activity is dependent on NAD+ levels and the development of compounds that directly activate SIRT1 has been controversial, indirectly activating SIRT1 through enhancing NAD+ bioavailability has received increasing attention. NAD+ levels are reduced in obesity and the aged, but the underlying mechanisms remain unclear. We recently showed that hepatic microRNA-34a (miR-34a), which is elevated in obesity, directly targets and decreases SIRT1 expression. Here, we further show that miR-34a reduces NAD+ levels and SIRT1 activity by targeting NAMPT, the rate-limiting enzyme for NAD+ biosynthesis. A functional binding site for miR-34a is present in the 3′ UTR of NAMPT mRNA. Hepatic overexpression of miR-34a reduced NAMPT/NAD+ levels, increased acetylation of the SIRT1 target transcriptional regulators, PGC-1α, SREBP-1c, FXR, and NF-κB, and resulted in obesity-mimetic outcomes. The decreased NAMPT/NAD+ levels were independent of miR-34a effects on SIRT1 levels as they were also observed in SIRT1 liver-specific knockout mice. Further, the miR-34a-mediated decreases were reversed by treatment with the NAD+ intermediate, nicotinamide mononucleotide. Conversely, antagonism of miR-34a in diet-induced obese mice restored NAMPT/NAD+ levels and alleviated steatosis, inflammation, and glucose intolerance. Anti-miR-34a-mediated increases in NAD+ levels were attenuated when NAMPT was downregulated. Our findings reveal a novel function of miR-34a in reducing both SIRT1 expression and activity in obesity. The miR-34a/NAMPT axis presents a potential target for treating obesity- and aging-related diseases involving SIRT1 dysfunction like steatosis and type 2 diabetes.