Age is the most important risk factor for metabolic alterations and cardiovascular accidents. Although class III histone deacetylases, alias Sirtuins, have been appealed as "the fountain of youth" their role in longevity control and prevention of aging-associated disease is still under debate. Indeed, several lines of evidence indicate that sirtuin activity is strictly linked to metabolism and dependent on NAD+ synthesis both often altered as aging progresses. During aging the cardiovascular system is attacked by a variety of environmental stresses, including those determined by high blood glucose and lipid levels, or by the presence of oxidized lipoproteins which, among others, determine important oxidative stress signals. In such a milieu, heart and vessels develop a functional impairment leading to atherosclerosis, ischemia, heart insufficiency and failure. Sirtuins, which are believed to have a positive impact on cardiovascular physiology and physiopathology, are distributed in different subcellular compartments including the nucleus, the cytoplasm and the mitochondria, where they regulate expression and function of a large variety of target genes and proteins. Remarkably, experimental animal models indicate resveratrol, the first natural compound described to positively regulate the activity of sirtuins, as able to protect the endothelium and the heart exposed to a variety of stress agents. This review will focus on the regulation and function of mammalian sirtuins with special attention paid to their role as cardiovascular "defenders" giving indication of their targets of potential relevance for the development of future therapeutics. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled CV Aging.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine