Impact of Short-Term Hypoxia on Sirtuins as Regulatory Elements in HUVECs.
BACKGROUND:Sirtuins (SIRT) are NAD+-dependent deacetylases that are involved in stress response, antioxidative defense, and longevity via posttranslational modifications. SIRT1 directly activates nitric oxide synthase (NOS). Aging is associated with a reduced sirtuin function and reduction of the cofactor NAD+. Age-related atherosclerosis and vascular diseases are linked to a compromised sirtuin function. Vascular events like stroke and cardiac infarction result in acute hypoxia, which can additionally impact sirtuins and thus the vascular function. This prompted us to study sirtuins in intact HUVECs, under acute, short-term hypoxic conditions. METHODS:We measured intracellular sirtuin and NAD+ levels in HUVECs exposed to hypoxia (2% O₂) for 10-120 min, compared to normoxic controls. SIRT1, SIRT3, and SIRT4 were measured at the protein (Western Blot) and the transcript level (qRT-PCR), SIRT1 and SIRT3 at the enzyme level (fluorometrically), and NAD+ levels were measured spectrophotometrically. RESULTS:We observed a reduction of SIRT1 and SIRT4 at the protein level, a downregulation of SIRT1 at the transcript level and increased NAD+ levels under hypoxia. SIRT3 was not affected by hypoxia. CONCLUSIONS:Downregulation of SIRT1 under hypoxia might reduce production of the reactive oxygen species (ROS) via the respiratory chain and inhibit the mitochondrial ATP-synthase, resulting in energy conservation. NOS might be impaired if SIRT1 is decreased. Increased NAD+ levels might compensate these effects. Hypoxic downregulation of SIRT4 might lead to mitochondrial uncoupling, hence endothelial dysfunction, and ADP/ATP-translocase 2 (ANT2)-inhibition. NAD+ upregulation might partly compensate this effect.