Sir2 (silent information regulator-2), an NAD+-dependent histone deacetylase, is highly conserved in organisms ranging from archaea to humans. Yeast Sir2 is responsible for silencing at repeated DNA sequences in mating-type loci, telomeres and rDNA, and plays critical roles in DNA repair, stress resistance and longevity.
The phenomenon of human aging is known to be a critical cardiovascular risk factor. Senescence of endothelial cells has been proposed to be involved in vascular dysfunction and atherogenesis. Recent studies have demonstrated that mammalian Sirt1 NAD+-dependent protein deacetylase, the closest homologue of Sir2, regulates vascular angiogenesis, homeostasis and senescence. This review focuses on SIRT1 as a potential therapeutic target against atherosclerosis.