Sirtuins and intervertebral disc degeneration: Roles in inflammation, oxidative stress, and mitochondrial function

Clin Chim Acta. 2020 Sep:508:33-42. doi: 10.1016/j.cca.2020.04.016. Epub 2020 Apr 26.


Intervertebral disc degeneration (IDD) is one of the main causes of low back pain, which seriously reduces the quality of life of patients and places a heavy economic burden on their families. Cellular senescence is considered to be an important factor leading to IDD, and inflammatory response, oxidative stress, and mitochondrial dysfunction are closely related to intervertebral disc (IVD) senescence. Therefore, inhibition of the inflammatory response and oxidative stress, along with maintaining mitochondrial function, may be useful in treating IDD. The sirtuins are a family of evolutionarily conserved nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD+)-dependent histone deacetylases, which are the major molecules mediating life extension or delay of aging-related diseases. The sirtuin protein family consist of seven members (SIRT1 - 7), which are mainly involved in various aging-related diseases by regulating inflammation, oxidative stress, and mitochondrial function. Among them, SIRT1, SIRT2, SIRT3, and SIRT6 are closely related to IDD. In addition, some activators of sirtuin proteins, such as resveratrol, melatonin, magnolol, 1,4-dihydropyridine (DHP), SRT1720, and nicotinamide mononucleotide (NMN), have been evaluated in preclinical studies for their effects in preventing IDD. This review described the biological functions of sirtuins and the important roles of SIRT1, SIRT2, SIRT3, and SIRT6 in IDD by regulating oxidative stress, inflammatory response, and mitochondrial function. In addition, we introduce the status of some sirtuin activators in IDD preclinical studies. This review will provide a background for further clarification of the molecular mechanism underlying IDD and the development of potential therapeutic drugs.

Keywords: Inflammation; Intervertebral disc degeneration; Mitochondrial function; Oxidative stress; Sirtuin.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Intervertebral Disc Degeneration* / drug therapy
  • Mitochondria / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Quality of Life
  • Sirtuins* / metabolism


  • SIRT6 protein, human
  • Sirtuins