Impacts on Sirtuin function and bioavailability of the dietary bioactive compound dihydrocoumarin

Full Title: Impacts on Sirtuin function and bioavailability of the dietary bioactive compound dihydrocoumarin

Journal: PLoS One

Year of Publication: 2016

PHHI Author(s): Xu “Sirius” Li
Publication Author(s): Jennifer L. Jacobi, Bo Yang, Xu Li, Anna K. Menze, Sara M. Laurentz, Elsa M. Janle, Mario G. Ferruzzi, George P. McCabe, Clint Chapple, Ann L. Kirchmaier


The plant secondary metabolite and common food additive dihydrocoumarin (DHC) is an inhibitor of the Sirtuin family of NAD+-dependent deacetylases. Sirtuins are key regulators of epigenetic processes that maintain silent chromatin in yeast and have been linked to gene expression, metabolism, apoptosis, tumorogenesis and age-related processes in multiple organisms, including humans. Here we report that exposure to the polyphenol DHC led to defects in several Sirtuin-regulated processes in budding yeast including the establishment and maintenance of Sir2p-dependent silencing by causing disassembly of silent chromatin, Hst1p-dependent repression of meiotic-specific genes during the mitotic cell cycle. As both transient and prolonged exposure to environmental and dietary factors have the potential to lead to heritable alterations in epigenetic states and to modulate additional Sirtuin-dependent phenotypes, we examined the bioavailability and digestive stability of DHC using an in vivo rat model and in vitro digestive simulator. Our analyses revealed that DHC was unstable during digestion and could be converted to melilotic acid (MA), which also caused epigenetic defects, albeit less efficiently. Upon ingestion, DHC was observed primarily in intestinal tissues, but did not accumulate over time and was readily cleared from the animals. MA displayed a wider tissue distribution and, in contrast to DHC, was also detected in the blood plasma, interstitial fluid, and urine, implying that the conversion of DHC to the less bioactive compound, MA, occurred efficiently in vivo.

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