Sirtuin 1 activation alleviates cholestatic liver injury in a cholic acid-fed mouse model of cholestasis

Hepatology. 2016 Dec;64(6):2151-2164. doi: 10.1002/hep.28826. Epub 2016 Oct 28.


Sirtuin1 (Sirt1; mammalian homolog of Saccharomyces cerevisiae enzyme Sir2) is a transcriptional and transactivational regulator of murine farnesoid X receptor (Fxr), which is the primary bile acid (BA) sensor, and critical regulator of BA metabolism in physiological and pathophysiological conditions. Previous studies have suggested compromised Sirt1 expression in rodent models of cholestatic liver injury. We hypothesized that Sirt1 could be potentially targeted to alleviate cholestatic liver injury. In cultured primary human hepatocytes, SIRT1 messenger RNA was down-regulated after GCA treatment, potentially through induction of microRNA (miR)-34a, whereas tauroursodeoxycholic acid induced SIRT1 expression without affecting miR-34a expression. Sirt1 expression was also significantly down-regulated in three mouse models of liver injury (bile duct ligation, 1% cholic acid [CA] fed, and the Mdr2-/- mouse). Mice fed CA diet also demonstrated hepatic FXR hyperacetylation and induction of the Janus kinase/p53 pathway. Mice fed a CA diet and concurrently administered the Sirt1 activator, SRT1720 (50 mg/kg/day, orally), demonstrated 40% and 45% decrease in plasma alanine aminotransferase and BA levels, respectively. SRT1720 increased hepatic BA hydrophilicity by increasing tri- and tetrahydroxylated and decreasing the dihydroxylated BA fraction. SRT1720 administration also inhibited hepatic BA synthesis, potentially through ileal fibroblast growth factor 15- and Fxr-mediated inhibition of cytochrome p450 (Cyp) 7a1 and Cyp27a1, along with increased hepatic BA hydroxylation in association with Cyp2b10 induction. SRT1720 administration significantly induced renal multidrug resistance-associated protein 2 and 4, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivator 1-α, and constitutive androstance receptor expression along with ∼2-fold increase in urinary BA concentrations.

Conclusion: SRT1720 administration alleviates cholestatic liver injury in mice by increasing hydrophilicity of hepatic BA composition and decreasing plasma BA concentration through increased BA excretion into urine. Thus, use of small-molecule activators of Sirt1 presents a novel therapeutic target for cholestatic liver injury. (Hepatology 2016;64:2151-2164).

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cholestasis / complications
  • Cholestasis / drug therapy*
  • Cholic Acid / administration & dosage
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Heterocyclic Compounds, 4 or More Rings / therapeutic use*
  • Liver Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Liver Diseases / etiology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Sirtuin 1 / drug effects*
  • Sirtuin 1 / physiology*


  • Heterocyclic Compounds, 4 or More Rings
  • SRT1720
  • Sirtuin 1
  • Cholic Acid