Hepatic overexpression of SIRT1 in mice attenuates endoplasmic reticulum stress and insulin resistance in the liver

Yu Li, Shanqin Xu, Amber Giles, Kazuto Nakamura, Jong Woo Lee, Xiuyun Hou, Gizem Donmez, Ji Li, Zhijun Luo, Kenneth Walsh, Leonard Guarente, Mengwei Zang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

233 Scopus citations


Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress has been implicated in the pathophysiology of human type 2 diabetes (T2DM). Although SIRT1 has a therapeutic effect on metabolic deterioration in T2DM, the precise mechanisms by which SIRT1 improves insulin resistance remain unclear. Here, we demonstrate that adenovirus-mediated overexpression of SIRT1 in the liver of diet-induced insulin-resistant low-density lipoprotein receptor-deficient mice and of genetically obese ob/ob mice attenuates hepatic steatosis and ameliorates systemic insulin resistance. These beneficial effects were associated with decreased mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) activity, inhibited the unfolded protein response (UPR), and enhanced insulin receptor signaling in the liver, leading to decreased hepatic gluconeogenesis and improved glucose tolerance. The tunicamycin-induced splicing of X-box binding protein-1 and expression of GRP78 and CHOP were reduced by resveratrol in cultured cells in a SIRT1-dependent manner. Conversely, SIRT1-deficient mouse embryonic fibroblasts challenged with tunicamycin exhibited markedly increased mTORC1 activity and impaired ER homeostasi and insulin signaling. These effects were abolished by mTORC1 inhibition by rapamycin in human HepG2 cells. These studies indicate that SIRT1 serves as a negative regulator of UPR signaling in T2DM and that SIRT1 attenuates hepatic steatosis, ameliorates insulin resistance, and restores glucose homeostasis, largely through the inhibition of mTORC1 and ER stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1664-1679
Number of pages16
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Hepatic steatosis
  • Insulin signaling
  • Unfolded protein response
  • XBP-1 splicing
  • mTORC1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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