Objective. The study was performed to elucidate whether nicotinamide (NAm) can attenuate the diabetes-induced liver damage by correction of ammonia detoxifying function and disbalance of NAD-dependent processes in diabetic rats.

Methods. After four weeks of streptozotocin-induced diabetes, Wistar male rats were treated for two weeks with or without NAm. Urea concentration, arginase, and glutamine synthetase activities, NAD+ levels, and NAD+/NADH ratio were measured in cytosolic liver extracts. Expression of parp-1 gene in the liver was estimated by quantitative polymerase chain reaction and PARP-1 cleavage evaluated by Western blotting.

Results. Despite the blood plasma lipid peroxidation products in diabetic rats were increased by 60%, the activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD) was reduced. NAm attenuated the oxidative stress, but did not affect the enzyme activity in diabetic rats. In liver of the diabetic rats, urea concentration and arginase activity were significantly higher than in the controls. The glutamine synthetase activity was decreased. Decline in NAD+ level and cytosolic NAD+/NADH ratio in the liver of diabetic rats was observed. Western blot analysis demonstrated a significant up-regulation of PARP-1 expression accompanied by the enzyme cleavage in the diabetic rat liver. However, no correlation was seen between mRNA expression of parp-1 gene and PARP-1 protein in the liver of diabetic rats. NAm markedly attenuated PARP-1 cleavage induced by diabetes, but did not affect the parp-1 gene expression.

Conclusions. NAm counteracts diabetes-induced impairments in the rat liver through improvement of its detoxifying function, partial restoration of oxidative stress, NAD+ level, normalization of redox state of free cytosolic NAD+/NADH-couples, and prevention of PARP-1 cleavage.