Sirt1 protects against high-fat diet-induced metabolic damage

Paul T. Pfluger, Daniel Herranz, Susana Velasco-Miguel, Manuel Serrano, Matthias H. Tschöp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

829 Scopus citations


The identification of new pharmacological approaches to effectively prevent, treat, and cure the metabolic syndrome is of crucial importance. Excessive exposure to dietary lipids causes inflammatory responses, deranges the homeostasis of cellular metabolism, and is believed to constitute a key initiator of the metabolic syndrome. Mammalian Sirt1 is a protein deacetylase that has been involved in resveratrol-mediated protection from high-fat diet-induced metabolic damage, but direct proof for the implication of Sirt1 has remained elusive. Here, we report that mice with moderate overexpression of Sirt1 under the control of its natural promoter exhibit fat mass gain similar to wild-type controls when exposed to a high-fat diet. Higher energy expenditure appears to be compensated by a parallel increase in food intake. Interestingly, transgenic Sirt1 mice under a high-fat diet show lower lipid-induced inflammation along with better glucose tolerance, and are almost entirely protected from hepatic steatosis. We present data indicating that such beneficial effects of Sirt1 are due to at least two mechanisms: induction of antioxidant proteins MnSOD and Nrf1, possibly via stimulation of PGC1α, and lower activation of proinflammatory cytokines, such as TNFα and IL-6, via down-modulation of NFκB activity. Together, these results provide direct proof of the protective potential of Sirt1 against the metabolic consequences of chronic exposure to a high-fat diet.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9793-9798
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number28
StatePublished - 15 Jul 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Inflammation
  • Metabolism
  • NFκB
  • Sirtuins
  • Steatosis


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