The molecular genetics of sirtuins: Association with human longevity and age-related diseases

Letizia Polito, Patrick G. Kehoe, Gianluigi Forloni, Diego Albani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The sirtuins are a family of proteins remarkably conserved from yeast to humans. In organisms such as yeast, worms and flies it is quite well established that the activity of sirtuins prolongs lifespan. As a result of promising findings in simple organisms, sirtuins are now investigated in higher organisms in relation to the ageing process. In mammals there are seven different sirtuin proteins each encoded by individual genes (SIRT1-7). Although sirtuins share a highly conserved catalytic domain, they differ in their biological function. Some mammalian sirtuins have been implicated in different ageing pathways and their modulation has been deemed to be beneficial in different models of age-associated diseases. Overall, sirtuins could contribute to mechanisms of human longevity and avoid or delay the onset of age-associated disorders. Here we review and discuss the potential impact of genetic variation in the sirtuin genes in relation to human longevity and age-related diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-225
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Molecular Epidemiology and Genetics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Ageing
  • Genetic variation
  • Longevity
  • SIRT1
  • SIRT3
  • SIRT4
  • Sirtuin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Genetics


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