Sirt6 inhibition delays the onset of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis by reducing dendritic cell migration

Giovanni Ferrara, Andrea Benzi, Laura Sturla, Daniela Marubbi, Davide Frumento, Sonia Spinelli, Elena Abbotto, Federico Ivaldi, Maria Von Holtey, Maximilien Murone, Alessio Nencioni, Antonio Uccelli, Santina Bruzzone

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) is the most common animal model of multiple sclerosis (MS), a neuroinflammatory and demyelinating disease characterized by multifocal perivascular infiltrates of immune cells. Although EAE is predominantly considered a T helper 1-driven autoimmune disease, mounting evidence suggests that activated dendritic cells (DC), which are the bridge between innate and adaptive immunity, also contribute to its pathogenesis. Sirtuin 6 (SIRT6), a NAD+-dependent deacetylase involved in genome maintenance and in metabolic homeostasis, regulates DC activation, and its pharmacological inhibition could, therefore, play a role in EAE development. Methods: EAE was induced in female C57bl/6 mice by MOG35-55 injection. The effect of treatment with a small compound SIRT6 inhibitor, administered according to therapeutic and preventive protocols, was assessed by evaluating the clinical EAE score. SIRT6 inhibition was confirmed by Western blot analysis by assessing the acetylation of histone 3 lysine 9, a known SIRT6 substrate. The expression of DC activation and migration markers was evaluated by FACS in mouse lymph nodes. In addition, the expression of inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines in the spinal cord were assessed by qPCR. T cell infiltration in spinal cords was evaluated by immunofluorescence imaging. The effect of Sirt6 inhibition on the migration of resting and activated bone marrow-derived dendritic cells was investigated in in vitro chemotaxis assays. Results: Preventive pharmacological Sirt6 inhibition effectively delayed EAE disease onset through a novel regulatory mechanism, i.e., by reducing the representation of CXCR4-positive and of CXCR4/CCR7-double-positive DC in lymph nodes. The delay in EAE onset correlated with the early downregulation in the expression of CD40 on activated lymph node DC, with increased level of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10, and with a reduced encephalitogenic T cell infiltration in the central nervous system. Consistent with the in vivo data, in vitro pharmacological Sirt6 inhibition in LPS-stimulated, bone marrow-derived DC reduced CCL19/CCL21- and SDF-1-induced DC migration. Conclusions: Our findings indicate the ability of Sirt6 inhibition to impair DC migration, to downregulate pathogenic T cell inflammatory responses and to delay EAE onset. Therefore, Sirt6 might represent a valuable target for developing novel therapeutic agents for the treatment of early stages of MS, or of other autoimmune disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Article number228
JournalJournal of Neuroinflammation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jul 31 2020


  • Clinically isolated syndrome
  • Dendritic cells
  • EAE
  • Migration
  • MS
  • SIRT6

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Immunology
  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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