Heavy-chain antibody targeting of CD38 NAD+ hydrolase ectoenzyme to prevent fibrosis in multiple organs

Bo Shi, Asif Amin, Pranjali Dalvi, Wenxia Wang, Nicholas Lukacs, Li Kai, Paul Cheresh, Thais R. Peclat, Claudia C. Chini, Eduardo N. Chini, Wim van Schooten, John Varga*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The functionally pleiotropic ectoenzyme CD38 is a glycohydrolase widely expressed on immune and non-hematopoietic cells. By converting NAD+ to ADP-ribose and nicotinamide, CD38 governs organismal NAD+ homeostasis and the activity of NAD+-dependent cellular enzymes. CD38 has emerged as a major driver of age-related NAD+ decline underlying adverse metabolic states, frailty and reduced health span. CD38 is upregulated in systemic sclerosis (SSc), a chronic disease characterized by fibrosis in multiple organs. We sought to test the hypothesis that inhibition of the CD38 ecto-enzymatic activity using a heavy-chain monoclonal antibody Ab68 will, via augmenting organismal NAD+, prevent fibrosis in a mouse model of SSc characterized by NAD+ depletion. Here we show that treatment of mice with a non-cytotoxic heavy-chain antibody that selectively inhibits CD38 ectoenzyme resulted in NAD+ boosting that was associated with significant protection from fibrosis in multiple organs. These findings suggest that targeted inhibition of CD38 ecto-enzymatic activity could be a potential pharmacological approach for SSc fibrosis treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number22085
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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