SIRT6 Improves Hippocampal Neurogenesis Following Prolonged Sleep Deprivation Through Modulating Energy Metabolism in Developing rats

Mol Neurobiol. 2024 Feb;61(2):883-899. doi: 10.1007/s12035-023-03585-4. Epub 2023 Sep 5.


Objective: Prolonged sleep deprivation is known to have detrimental effects on the hippocampus during development or in adulthood. Furthermore, it is well-established that sleep deprivation disrupts energy metabolism broadly. SIRT6 is a critical regulator of energy metabolism in both central and peripheral tissues. This study aims to investigate the role of SIRT6 in modulating hippocampal neurogenesis following sleep deprivation during development, and elucidate the underlying mechanism.

Methods: Male Sprague-Dawley rats, aged three weeks, were subjected to 2 weeks of sleep deprivation using the modified multiple platform method. Metabolomic profiling was carried out using the liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry (LC‒ESI‒MS/MS). To investigate the role of SIRT6 in energy metabolism, the rats were administered with either the SIRT6-specific inhibitor, OSS128167, or SIRT6-overexpressing adeno-associated virus (AAV). Hippocampal neurogenesis was assessed by immunostaining with markers for neural stem cells (SOX2), immature neurons [doublecortin (DCX)] and newborn cells (BrdU). Sparse labeling of adult neurons was used to determine the density of dendritic spines in the dentate gyrus (DG). The Y-maze and novel object recognition (NOR) tests were performed to evaluate the spatial and recognition memory. SIRT6 expression was examined using immunofluorescence and western blotting (WB). The inhibition of SIRT6 was confirmed by assessing the acetylation of histone 3 lysine 9 (aceH3K9), a well-known substrate of SIRT6, through WB.

Results: Sleep deprivation for a period of two weeks leads to inhibited hippocampal neurogenesis, reduced density of dendritic spines in the DG, and impaired memory, accompanied by decreased SIRT6 expression and disrupted energy metabolism. Similar to sleep deprivation, administration of OSS128167 significantly decreased energy metabolism, leading to reduced neurogenesis and memory dysfunction. Notably, the abnormal hippocampal energy metabolism, neurogenetic pathological changes and memory dysfunction caused by sleep deprivation were alleviated by SIRT6 overexpression in the DG.

Conclusion: Our results suggest that SIRT6 plays a critical role in maintaining energy metabolism homeostasis in the hippocampus after sleep deprivation, promoting hippocampal neurogenesis and enhancing memory during development.

Keywords: Development; Energy metabolism; Neurogenesis; SIRT6; Sleep deprivation.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Dentate Gyrus / metabolism
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Male
  • Neurogenesis
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Sirtuins* / metabolism
  • Sleep Deprivation* / metabolism
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry


  • Sirtuins
  • sirtuin 6, rat