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Brain space for SIRT1

A trio of mouse studies suggests that sirtuin 1 acts in brain regions that control appetite, learning and memory.1-3 The finding adds a new dimension to the protein deacetylase's known role in regulating energy sensing in the peripheral organs. In addition, the research suggests that activation of sirtuin 1 could open up neurological indications for companies already pursuing the target in the metabolic space, provided that compounds can be precisely directed to the brain.

The studies all used tissue-specific knockout mice to pinpoint the behavioral effects of sirtuin 1 (Sirt1) deficiency in the brain and found that the absence of Sirt1either magnified the effect of metabolic and neurodegenerative disease or blocked adaptive mechanisms that counteract disease processes. The unanswered question is whether upregulating SIRT1 will have a therapeutic effect in neurological diseases.

Prior studies have shown that whole-body Sirt1knockout mice have problems sensing energy levels in the liver and muscles and thus are unable to adapt to excessively rich or poor diets.4Based on those findings,independent teams at the Washington University in St. Louisand The University

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