Skip to main content

04-08-2011 | Mental health | Article

Reduced sirtuin gene expression linked to depression in mood disorders


Free abstract

MedWire News: Reduced expression of the sirtuin (SIRT) 1, 2, and 6 genes is associated with depression in patients with mood disorders, show Japanese study results.

Writing in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, Shusaku Uchida and team, from Yamaguchi University Graduate School of Medicine,explain: "Sirtuins are a family of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide-dependent enzymes that regulate cellular functions through deacetylation of various proteins."

They add: "Although recent reports have suggested an important role of deacetylases (ie, histone deacetylases) in mood disorders and antidepressant action, the involvement of sirtuins in the pathophysiology of mood disorders is largely unknown."

Uchida et al therefore studied 103 patients with mood disorders (44 with bipolar disorder and 59 with major depressive disorder) and 28 mentally healthy individuals (controls). Of the patients with mood disorders, 32 were in a depressed state at the time of the study while the remainder were in remission.

The team used quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction to measure mRNA expression levels of seven sirtuin isoforms (SIRT1-7) in peripheral white blood cells collected from the participants.

The researchers found that mRNA expression levels of SIRT1, SIRT2 and SIRT6were significantly lower in white blood cells from depressed mood disorder patients compared with those from controls.

In contrast, there were no significant differences in SIRT1-7mRNAexpression levels between mood disorder patients who were in remission and controls.

Uchida and colleagues conclude: "Our data suggest that altered SIRT1, 2, and 6 mRNA expression in peripheral blood cells may be a useful biological marker for mood disorders. In addition, altered SIRT expression may be associated with the pathophysiology of depression."

They add: "Further clinical and experimental studies are needed to clarify the role of SIRTs in the pathophysiology of mood disorders."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2011

By Mark Cowen

Related topics