Adipose tissue and liver expression of SIRT1, 3, and 6 increase after extensive weight loss in morbid obesity

J Hepatol. 2013 Dec;59(6):1315-22. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2013.07.027. Epub 2013 Aug 6.


Background & aims: Severe obesity is associated with a state of chronic inflammation. Sirtuins (SIRT) are a family of conserved enzymes which are able to affect many metabolic and inflammatory pathways thereby potentially improving health and increasing lifespan.

Methods: We investigated the effect of weight loss on subcutaneous adipose tissue and liver mRNA and immunohistochemical expression of SIRT1, SIRT3, and SIRT6. Twenty-nine severely obese patients undergoing laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB) were studied. Tissue samples were collected before and 6months after LAGB surgery. Tissue mRNA expression levels of SIRT1, SIRT3, and SIRT6 were correlated with clinical, biochemical, and histological parameters. In vitro, we studied sirtuin expression in native and stimulated monocytes, adipocytes, and hepatocytes.

Results: SIRT1, SIRT3, and SIRT6 mRNA expression was higher in the subcutaneous adipose tissue than in the liver. Weight loss resulted in a significant induction of SIRT1, SIRT3, and SIRT6 expression in the subcutaneous adipose tissue. In the liver, a significant increase after weight loss was observed, particularly for SIRT3 and SIRT6 mRNA expression; immunohistochemically, SIRT1 and SIRT3 expression was upregulated. Endotoxin and tumor necrosis factor-alpha suppressed SIRT1, SIRT3, and SIRT6 expression in human monocytes. The same stimuli suppressed total sirtuin deacetylase activity again, mainly in monocytes and less in adipocytes and hepatocytes.

Conclusions: The relative abundance of adipose tissue mRNA expression of certain sirtuins exceeds its expression in the liver. Extensive weight loss increases sirtuin expression significantly both in adipose tissue and liver, probably as a consequence of reduced inflammation.

Keywords: Insulin resistance; Metabolism; NAFLD; SIRT1; SIRT3; SIRT6.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity, Morbid / metabolism*
  • Sirtuin 1 / analysis
  • Sirtuin 1 / genetics*
  • Sirtuin 3 / analysis
  • Sirtuin 3 / genetics*
  • Sirtuins / analysis
  • Sirtuins / genetics*
  • Subcutaneous Fat / metabolism*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / pharmacology
  • Weight Loss*


  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • SIRT1 protein, human
  • SIRT3 protein, human
  • SIRT6 protein, human
  • Sirtuin 1
  • Sirtuin 3
  • Sirtuins