ANGPTL4 promotes bile acid absorption during taurocholic acid supplementation via a mechanism dependent on the gut microbiota

Aafke W.F. Janssen, Wieneke Dijk, Jos Boekhorst, Folkert Kuipers, Albert K. Groen, Sabina Lukovac, Guido J.E.J. Hooiveld, Sander Kersten*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Angiopoietin-like 4 (ANGPTL4) raises plasma triglyceride levels by inhibiting lipoprotein lipase. A set of compounds that are able to reduce plasma triglyceride levels are bile acids (BA). Because BA have been shown to decrease ANGPTL4 secretion by intestinal cells, we hypothesized that BA lower plasma triglycerides (partly) via ANGPTL4. To test that hypothesis, wild-type and Angptl4−/− mice were fed chow supplemented with taurocholic acid (TCA) for seven days. TCA supplementation effectively lowered plasma triglycerides in wild-type and Angptl4−/− mice, indicating that ANGPTL4 is not required for plasma triglyceride-lowering by BA. Intriguingly, however, plasma and hepatic BA concentrations were significantly lower in TCA-supplemented Angptl4−/− mice than in TCA-supplemented wild-type mice. These changes in the Angptl4−/− mice were accompanied by lower BA levels in ileal scrapings and decreased expression of FXR-target genes in the ileum, including the BA transporter Slc10a2. By contrast, faecal excretion of specifically primary BA was higher in the Angptl4−/− mice, suggesting that loss of ANGPTL4 impairs intestinal BA absorption. Since the gut microbiota converts primary BA into secondary BA, elevated excretion of primary BA in Angptl4−/− mice may reflect differences in gut microbial composition and/or functionality. Indeed, colonic microbial composition was markedly different between Angptl4−/− and wild-type mice. Suppression of the gut bacteria using antibiotics abolished differences in plasma, hepatic, and faecal BA levels between TCA-supplemented Angptl4−/− and wild-type mice. In conclusion, 1) ANGPTL4 is not involved in the triglyceride-lowering effect of BA; 2) ANGPTL4 promotes BA absorption during TCA supplementation via a mechanism dependent on the gut microbiota.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1056-1067
JournalBiochimica et Biophysica Acta. Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Angiopoietin-like 4
  • Antibiotics
  • Bile acids
  • Gut microbiota
  • Lipoprotein lipase
  • Triglycerides


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