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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2012 May;1821(5):782-9. doi: 10.1016/j.bbalip.2011.10.010. Epub 2011 Oct 25.

Regulation of triglyceride metabolism by Angiopoietin-like proteins.

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Nutrition, Metabolism and Genomics Group, Wageningen University, Bomenweg 2, Wageningen, The Netherlands.


Plasma triglyceride concentrations are determined by the balance between production of the triglyceride-rich lipoproteins VLDL and chylomicrons in liver and intestine, and their lipoprotein lipase-mediated clearance in peripheral tissues. In the last decade, the group of Angiopoietin-like proteins has emerged as important regulators of circulating triglyceride (TG) levels. Specifically, ANGPTL3 and ANGPTL4 impair TG clearance by inhibiting lipoprotein lipase (LPL). Whereas ANGPTL4 irreversibly inactivates LPL by promoting conversion of active LPL dimers into inactive monomers, ANGPTL3 reversibly inhibits LPL activity. Studies using transgenic or knockout mice have clearly demonstrated the stimulatory effect of Angptl3 and Angptl4 on plasma TG, which is further supported by human genetic data including genome wide association studies. Whereas ANGPTL3 is mainly active in the fed state, ANGPTL4 is elevated by fasting and mediates fasting-induced changes in plasma TG and free fatty acid metabolism. Both proteins undergo oligomerization and are subject to proteolytic cleavage to generate N- and C-terminal fragments with highly divergent biological activities. Expression of ANGPTL3 is exclusive to liver and governed by the liver X receptor (LXR). In contrast, ANGPTL4 is expressed ubiquitously and under sensitive control of the Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) family and fatty acids. Induction of ANGPTL4 gene expression by fatty acids and via PPARs is part of a feedback mechanism aimed at protecting cells against lipotoxicity. So far there is very little evidence that other ANGPTLs directly impact plasma lipoprotein metabolism. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Triglyceride Metabolism and Disease.

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