Enhanced insulin sensitivity in skeletal muscle and liver by physiological overexpression of SIRT6

Jason G. Anderson, Giorgio Ramadori, Rafael M. Ioris, Mirco Galiè, Eric D. Berglund, Katie C. Coate, Teppei Fujikawa, Stefania Pucciarelli, Benedetta Moreschini, Augusto Amici, Cristina Andreani, Roberto Coppari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Objective: Available treatment for obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is suboptimal. Thus, identifying novel molecular target(s) exerting protective effects against these metabolic imbalances is of enormous medical significance. Sirt6 loss- and gain-of-function studies have generated confounding data regarding the role of this sirtuin on energy and glucose homeostasis, leaving unclear whether activation or inhibition of SIRT6 may be beneficial for the treatment of obesity and/or T2DM. Methods: To address these issues, we developed and studied a novel mouse model designed to produce eutopic and physiological overexpression of SIRT6 (Sirt6BAC mice). These mutants and their controls underwent several metabolic analyses. These include whole-blood reverse phase high-performance liquid chromatography assay, glucose and pyruvate tolerance tests, hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp assays, and assessment of basal and insulin-induced level of phosphorylated AKT (p-AKT)/AKT in gastrocnemius muscle. Results: Sirt6BAC mice physiologically overexpress functionally competent SIRT6 protein. While Sirt6BAC mice have normal body weight and adiposity, they are protected from developing high-caloric-diet (HCD)-induced hyperglycemia and glucose intolerance. Also, Sirt6BAC mice display increased circulating level of the polyamine spermidine. The ability of insulin to suppress endogenous glucose production was significantly enhanced in Sirt6BAC mice compared to wild-type controls. Insulin-stimulated glucose uptake was increased in Sirt6BAC mice in both gastrocnemius and soleus muscle, but not in brain, interscapular brown adipose, or epididymal adipose tissue. Insulin-induced p-AKT/AKT ratio was increased in gastrocnemius muscle of Sirt6BAC mice compared to wild-type controls. Conclusions: Our data indicate that moderate, physiological overexpression of SIRT6 enhances insulin sensitivity in skeletal muscle and liver, engendering protective actions against diet-induced T2DM. Hence, the present study provides support for the anti-T2DM effect of SIRT6 and suggests SIRT6 as a putative molecular target for anti-T2DM treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)846-856
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Metabolism
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2015


  • Diabetes
  • Glucose homeostasis
  • Insulin sensitivity
  • SIRT6 overexpression
  • Sirtuin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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