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Neuronal SIRT1 Regulates Metabolic and Reproductive Function and the Response to Caloric Restriction.


Sirt1 is an NAD-dependent, class III deacetylase that functions as a cellular energy sensor. In addition to its well-characterized effects in peripheral tissues, emerging evidence suggests that neuronal Sirt1 activity plays a role in the central regulation of energy balance and glucose metabolism. In this study, we generated mice expressing an enzymatically inactive form (N-MUT) or wild-type (WT) SIRT1 (N-OX) in mature neurons. N-OX male and female mice had impaired glucose tolerance, and N-MUT female, but not male, mice had improved glucose tolerance compared with that of WT littermates. Furthermore, glucose tolerance was improved in all mice with caloric restriction (CR) but was greater in the N-OX mice, who had better glucose tolerance than their littermates. At the reproductive level, N-OX females had impaired estrous cycles, with increased cycle length and more time in estrus. LH and progesterone surges were absent on the evening of proestrus in the N-OX mice, suggesting a defect in spontaneous ovulation, which was confirmed by the ovarian histology revealing fewer corpora lutea. Despite this defect, the mice were still fertile when mated to WT mice on the day of proestrus, indicating that the mice could respond to normal pheromonal or environmental cues. When subjected to CR, the N-OX mice went into diestrus arrest earlier than their littermates. Together, these results suggested that the overexpression of SIRT1 rendered the mice more sensitive to the metabolic improvements and suppression of reproductive cycles by CR, which was independent of circadian rhythms.

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