Influence of age and physical exercise on sirtuin activity in humans

L. Villanova, E. Vernucci, B. Pucci, L. Pellegrini, Marcella Nebbioso, C. Mauri, G. Marfe, A. Spataro, M. Fini, G. Banfi, M. A. Russo, M. Tafani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sirtuins are NAD+-dependent lysine deacetylases. Sirtuins acquired worldwide attention because of their ability to increase yeast, flies, worms and mice lifespan. Recently, this assumption has been challenged. However, their beneficial role on the quality of ageing is widely accepted. In this work we aimed to study how and if sirtuins expression and activity levels varies in function of age and, in the case of young subjects, of exercise. Fifteen blood donors of different ages and fifteen athletes of the Italian rowing male team were enrolled and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) isolated from blood samples. Our results show that sirtuins deacetylases activity measured in PBMCs increases from 18 to 40 years of age and then decreases during the following 20 years. Moreover, physical exercise in professional athletes can upregulate sirtuin activity. Thus, for the first time in humans, we demonstrate that sirtuin activity is a function of age and can be altered through physical exercise.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)497-507
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biological Regulators and Homeostatic Agents
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2013


  • Ageing
  • Deacetylase activity
  • PBMCs
  • Sirtuins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Endocrinology
  • Physiology
  • Cancer Research


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