Sirt6 enhances macrophage lipophagy and improves lipid metabolism disorder by regulating the Wnt1/β-catenin pathway in atherosclerosis

Lipids Health Dis. 2023 Sep 22;22(1):156. doi: 10.1186/s12944-023-01891-3.


Lipid metabolism disorders are considerably involved in the pathology of atherosclerosis; nevertheless, the fundamental mechanism is still largely unclear. This research sought to examine the function of lipophagy in lipid metabolism disorder-induced atherosclerosis and its fundamental mechanisms. Previously, Sirt6 has been reported to stimulate plaque stability by promoting macrophage autophagy. However, its role in macrophage lipophagy and its relationship with Wnt1 remains to be established. In this study, ApoE-/-: Sirt6-/- and ApoE-/-: Sirt6Tg mice were used and lipid droplets were analysed via transmission electron microscopy and Bodipy 493/503 staining in vitro. Atherosclerotic plaques in ApoE-/-: Sirt6-/- mice showed greater necrotic cores and lower stability score. Reconstitution of Sirt6 in atherosclerotic mice improved lipid metabolism disorder and prevented the progression of atherosclerosis. Furthermore, macrophages with Ac-LDL intervention showed more lipid droplets and increased expression of adipophilin and PLIN2. Reconstitution of Sirt6 recruited using SNF2H suppressed Wnt1 expression and improved lipid metabolism disorder by promoting lipophagy. In addition, downregulation of Sirt6 expression in Ac-LDL-treated macrophages inhibited lipid droplet degradation and stimulated foam cell formation. Innovative discoveries in the research revealed that atherosclerosis is caused by lipid metabolism disorders due to downregulated Sirt6 expression. Thus, modulating Sirt6's function in lipid metabolism might be a useful therapeutic approach for treating atherosclerosis.

Keywords: Atherosclerosis; Foam cells; Lipid metabolism; Macrophage lipophagy; Sirt6.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apolipoproteins E / genetics
  • Atherosclerosis* / genetics
  • Autophagy / genetics
  • Lipid Metabolism / genetics
  • Lipid Metabolism Disorders*
  • Macrophages
  • Mice
  • Plaque, Atherosclerotic* / genetics
  • Sirtuins* / genetics
  • beta Catenin


  • beta Catenin
  • Apolipoproteins E
  • Sirt6 protein, mouse
  • Sirtuins