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    Loss of SIRT1 in diabetes accelerates DNA damage induced vascular calcification

    Bartoli-Leonard, Francesca, Wilkinson, Fiona L, Schiro, Andrew, Inglott, Ferdinand Serracino, Alexander, M Yvonne and Weston, Ria ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8316-0728 (2021) Loss of SIRT1 in diabetes accelerates DNA damage induced vascular calcification. Cardiovascular Research, 117 (3). pp. 836-849. ISSN 0008-6363

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    Aims: Vascular calcification is a recognised predictor of cardiovascular risk in the diabetic patient, with DNA damage and accelerated senescence linked to oxidative stress associated pathological calcification. Having previously shown that systemic SIRT1 is reduced in diabetes, the aim was to establish whether SIRT1 is protective against a DNA damage-induced senescent and calcified phenotype in diabetic vascular smooth muscle cells (vSMCs). Methods and Results: Immunohistochemistry revealed decreased SIRT1 and increased DNA damage marker expression in diabetic calcified arteries compared to non-diabetic and non-calcified controls, strengthened by findings that vSMCs isolated from diabetic patients show elevated DNA damage and senescence, assessed by the Comet assay and telomere length. Hyperglycaemic conditions were used and induced DNA damage and enhanced senescence in vSMCs in vitro. Using H2O2 as a model of oxidative stress-induced DNA damage, pharmacological activation of SIRT1 reduced H2O2 DNA damage induced calcification, prevented not only DNA damage, as shown by reduced comet tail length, but also decreased yH2AX foci formation, and attenuated calcification. While ATM expression was reduced following DNA damage, in contrast, SIRT1 activation significantly increased ATM expression, phosphorylating both MRE11 and NBS1, thus allowing formation of the MRN complex and increasing activation of the DNA repair pathway. Conclusions: DNA damage induced calcification is accelerated within a diabetic environment and can be attenuated in vitro by SIRT1 activation. This occurs through enhancement of the MRN repair complex within vSMCs and has therapeutic potential within the diabetic patient. Translational perspective: Our study provides the first evidence that DNA damage is enhanced in the vasculature of the diabetic patient and that this process, in tandem with loss of SIRT1, exacerbates pathological smooth muscle cell calcification. We propose that current SIRT1 activators and their analogues may be useful as investigational tools, and further elucidation of downstream mechanisms of SIRT1 will aid the development of novel and more precise drug regimens.

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