Sirtuin 6 activation rescues the age-related decline in DNA damage repair in primary human chondrocytes

Michaela E. Copp, Jacqueline Shine, Hannon L. Brown, Kirti R. Nimmala, Oliver B. Hansen, Susan Chubinskaya, John A. Collins, Richard F. Loeser, Brian O. Diekman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


While advanced age is widely recognized as the greatest risk factor for osteoarthritis (OA), the biological mechanisms behind this connection remain unclear. Previous work has demonstrated that chondrocytes from older cadaveric donors have elevated levels of DNA damage as compared to chondrocytes from younger donors. The purpose of this study was to determine whether a decline in DNA repair efficiency is one explanation for the accumulation of DNA damage with age, and to quantify the improvement in repair with activation of Sirtuin 6 (SIRT6). After acute damage with irradiation, DNA repair was shown to be more efficient in chondrocytes from young (≤45 years old) as compared to middle-aged (50–65 years old) or older (>70 years old) cadaveric donors. Activation of SIRT6 with MDL-800 improved the repair efficiency, while inhibition with EX-527 reduced the rate of repair and increased the percentage of cells that retain high levels of damage. In addition to affecting repair after acute damage, treating chondrocytes from older donors with MDL-800 for 48 hours significantly reduced the amount of baseline DNA damage. Chondrocytes isolated from the knees of mice between 4 months and 22 months of age revealed both an increase in DNA damage with aging, and a decrease in DNA damage following MDL-800 treatment. Lastly, treating murine cartilage explants with MDL-800 lowered the percentage of chondrocytes with high p16 promoter activity, which supports the concept that using SIRT6 activation to maintain low levels of DNA damage may prevent the initiation of senescence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13628-13645
Number of pages18
Issue number23
StatePublished - 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • aging
  • cartilage
  • comet assay
  • MDL-800
  • SIRT6

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Cell Biology


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