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Nat Med. 2014 Jan;20(1):37-46. doi: 10.1038/nm.3396. Epub 2013 Dec 8.

Circulating angiopoietin-like 4 links proteinuria with hypertriglyceridemia in nephrotic syndrome.

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1] Glomerular Disease Therapeutics Laboratory, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA. [2].
1] Department of Pathology, Toronto General Hospital, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. [2] Department of Pathology, Instituto Nacional De Cardiologia, Mexico City, Mexico.
Department of Nephrology and Hypertension, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
Nutrition, Metabolism and Genomics Group, Wageningen University, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Glomerular Disease Therapeutics Laboratory, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, Alabama, USA.


The molecular link between proteinuria and hyperlipidemia in nephrotic syndrome is not known. We show in the present study that plasma angiopoietin-like 4 (Angptl4) links proteinuria with hypertriglyceridemia through two negative feedback loops. In previous studies in a rat model that mimics human minimal change disease, we observed localized secretion by podocytes of hyposialylated Angptl4, a pro-proteinuric form of the protein. But in this study we noted high serum levels of Angptl4 (presumably normosialylated based on a neutral isoelectric point) in other glomerular diseases as well. Circulating Angptl4 was secreted by extrarenal organs in response to an elevated plasma ratio of free fatty acids (FFAs) to albumin when proteinuria reached nephrotic range. In a systemic feedback loop, these circulating pools of Angptl4 reduced proteinuria by interacting with glomerular endothelial αvβ5 integrin. Blocking the Angptl4-β5 integrin interaction or global knockout of Angptl4 or β5 integrin delayed recovery from peak proteinuria in animal models. But at the same time, in a local feedback loop, the elevated extrarenal pools of Angptl4 reduced tissue FFA uptake in skeletal muscle, heart and adipose tissue, subsequently resulting in hypertriglyceridemia, by inhibiting lipoprotein lipase (LPL)-mediated hydrolysis of plasma triglycerides to FFAs. Injecting recombinant human ANGPTL4 modified at a key LPL interacting site into nephrotic Buffalo Mna and Zucker Diabetic Fatty rats reduced proteinuria through the systemic loop but, by bypassing the local loop, without increasing plasma triglyceride levels. These data show that increases in circulating Angptl4 in response to nephrotic-range proteinuria reduces the degree of this pathology, but at the cost of inducing hypertriglyceridemia, while also suggesting a possible therapy to treat these linked pathologies.

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