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PLoS One. 2011;6(11):e24564. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0024564. Epub 2011 Nov 7.

Bile acid sequestration reduces plasma glucose levels in db/db mice by increasing its metabolic clearance rate.

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Department of Pediatrics, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.



Bile acid sequestrants (BAS) reduce plasma glucose levels in type II diabetics and in murine models of diabetes but the mechanism herein is unknown. We hypothesized that sequestrant-induced changes in hepatic glucose metabolism would underlie reduced plasma glucose levels. Therefore, in vivo glucose metabolism was assessed in db/db mice on and off BAS using tracer methodology.


Lean and diabetic db/db mice were treated with 2% (wt/wt in diet) Colesevelam HCl (BAS) for 2 weeks. Parameters of in vivo glucose metabolism were assessed by infusing [U-(13)C]-glucose, [2-(13)C]-glycerol, [1-(2)H]-galactose and paracetamol for 6 hours, followed by mass isotopologue distribution analysis, and related to metabolic parameters as well as gene expression patterns.


Compared to lean mice, db/db mice displayed an almost 3-fold lower metabolic clearance rate of glucose (p = 0.0001), a ∼300% increased glucokinase flux (p = 0.001) and a ∼200% increased total hepatic glucose production rate (p = 0.0002). BAS treatment increased glucose metabolic clearance rate by ∼37% but had no effects on glucokinase flux nor total hepatic or endogenous glucose production. Strikingly, BAS-treated db/db mice displayed reduced long-chain acylcarnitine content in skeletal muscle (p = 0.0317) but not in liver (p = 0.189). Unexpectedly, BAS treatment increased hepatic FGF21 mRNA expression 2-fold in lean mice (p = 0.030) and 3-fold in db/db mice (p = 0.002).


BAS induced plasma glucose lowering in db/db mice by increasing metabolic clearance rate of glucose in peripheral tissues, which coincided with decreased skeletal muscle long-chain acylcarnitine content.

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