The female mouse is resistant to mild vitamin B3 deficiency

Inge van der Stelt, Wenbiao Shi, Melissa Bekkenkamp-Grovenstein, Rubén Zapata-Pérez, Riekelt H. Houtkooper, V.C.J. de Boer, Maria A. Hegeman, Jaap Keijer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Vitamin B3 provides nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+), an essential coenzyme in oxidoreductase reactions. Severe vitamin B3 deficiency leads to the disease Pellagra, while mild vitamin B3 deficiency has been linked to age-related and metabolic diseases. Mild vitamin B3 deficiency is understudied, especially in females. Therefore, we examined how female mice responded to a diet that induced mild vitamin B3 deficiency in male mice. Methods: Female C57BL/6RccHsd mice were subjected for 18 weeks to a diet without vitamin B3 and low but sufficient tryptophan (0.115%) (0NR) and were compared to control female mice on the same diet with the reference dose of vitamin B3 (30NR, 30 mg nicotinamide riboside/ kg diet). Results: In the female mice, no differences between the two dietary groups were found in liver nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN) levels, body composition, whole body energy and substrate metabolism measured by indirect calorimetry, or liver triacylglycerol metabolism. Expression of seven genes that previously were shown to respond to mild vitamin B3 deficiency in male white adipose tissue were not differentially expressed between the female dietary groups, neither was insulin sensitivity. Conclusion: We concluded that the female 0NR mice were not vitamin B3 deficient; the role of age, sex and health status is discussed. Demonstrated by clear differences between females and males, the latter showing mild deficiency under the same conditions, this study highlights the importance of studying both sexes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-340
JournalEuropean Journal of Nutrition
Issue number1
Early online date25 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Insulin sensitivity
  • Male–female differences
  • Nicotinamide riboside
  • Tryptophan
  • Vitamin B deficiency
  • White adipose tissue


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