Silent Information Regulator 2 Homolog 1 Counters Cerebral Hypoperfusion Injury by Deacetylating Endothelial Nitric Oxide Synthase
Background and Purpose—Silent information regulator 2 homolog 1 (SIRT1) is a protein deacetylase that has been reported to suppress neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases in model organisms. We hypothesized that neurovascular protection is one of the diverse actions of SIRT1. This study was designed to determine whether SIRT1 protects against the consequences of cerebral hypoperfusion in vivo.
Methods—Sirt1-overexpressing (Sirt1-Tg) mice driven by a prion promoter and their wild-type littermates were subjected to bilateral common carotid artery stenosis using external microcoils. Using Sirt1-Tg mice, we assessed the effect of SIRT1 on cerebral blood flow, cerebral angioarchitecture, histological and ultrastructural changes, and spatial working memory at several time points. We also evaluated the effects of preadministration of SIRT1 inhibitors or endothelial nitric oxide synthase inhibitors on cerebral blood flow after bilateral common carotid artery stenosis in Sirt1-Tg mice. Levels of acetylated and nonacetylated endothelial nitric oxide synthase were measured semiquantitatively with immunoblotting.
Results—Cerebral hypoperfusion induced by bilateral common carotid artery stenosis caused memory impairment and histological changes in wild-type littermates. However, these phenotypes were rescued in Sirt1-Tg mice, where cerebral blood flow was maintained even poststenosis. Electron microscopic analyses showed irregularities in the vascular endothelia, such as tight junction openings in wild-type mice, which were absent in Sirt1-Tg littermates. Brain endothelial nitric oxide synthase was acetylated after cerebral hypoperfusion in wild-type littermates but remained unacetylated in Sirt1-Tg mice. Moreover, treatment with SIRT1 inhibitors and endothelial nitric oxide synthase inhibitors abolished the vasculoprotective effects of SIRT1.
Conclusions—Our results indicate that neurovascular endothelial SIRT1 potentiation upregulates the nitric oxide system and counters cerebral hypoperfusion injury. This novel cerebral blood flow–preserving mechanism offers potential molecular targets for future therapeutic intervention.
- Received May 27, 2014.
- Revision received August 6, 2014.
- Accepted August 18, 2014.
- © 2014 American Heart Association, Inc.