SIRT3 blocks myofibroblast differentiation and pulmonary fibrosis by preventing mitochondrial DNA damage

Samik Bindu, Vinodkumar B. Pillai, Abhinav Kanwal, Sadhana Samant, Gökhan M. Mutlu, Eric Verdin, Nickolai Dulin, Mahesh P. Gupta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Citations (Scopus)


Myofibroblast differentiation is a key process in the pathogenesis of fibrotic diseases. Transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1) is a powerful inducer of myofibroblast differentiation and is implicated in pathogenesis of tissue fibrosis. This study was undertaken to determine the role of mitochondrial deacetylase SIRT3 in TGF-β1-induced myofibroblast differentiation in vitro and lung fibrosis in vivo. Treatment of human lung fibroblasts with TGF-β1 resulted in increased expression of fibrosis markers, smooth muscle α-actin (α-SMA), collagen-1, and fibronectin. TGF-β1 treatment also caused depletion of endogenous SIRT3, which paralleled with increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), DNA damage, and subsequent reduction in levels of 8-oxoguanine DNA glycosylase (OGG1), an enzyme that hydrolyzes oxidized guanine (8-oxo-dG) and thus protects DNA from oxidative damage. Overexpression of SIRT3 by adenovirus-mediated transduction reversed the effects of TGF-β1 on ROS production and mitochondrial DNA damage and inhibited TGF-β1-induced myofibroblast differentiation. To determine the antifibrotic role of SIRT3 in vivo, we used the bleomycin-induced mouse model of pulmonary fibrosis. Compared with wild-type controls, Sirt3-knockout mice showed exacerbated fibrosis after intratracheal instillation of bleomycin. Increased lung fibrosis was associated with decreased levels of OGG1 and concomitant accumulation of 8-oxo-dG and increased mitochondrial DNA damage. In contrast, the transgenic mice with whole body Sirt3 overexpression were protected from bleomycin-induced mtDNA damage and development of lung fibrosis. These data demonstrate a critical role of SIRT3 in the control of myofibroblast differentiation and lung fibrosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L68-L78
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01-01-2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology


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