Obesity is associated with adipose tissue (AT) dysfunction marked by cellular hypertrophy, inflammation, hypoxia and fibrosis. Angiopoietin-like protein 4 (ANGPTL4) inhibits lipoprotein lipase which regulates triglyceride storage. Recently, inhibition of ANGPTL4 has been suggested as potential treatment for type 2 diabetes. Here we evaluate ANGPTL4’s role in diabetes and examine ANGPTL4 in relation to markers of AT dysfunction and fatty liver disease.
We obtained a unique set of paired samples from subjects undergoing weight loss surgery including subcutaneous AT (SCAT), omental AT (OMAT), liver, thigh muscle biopsies and serum including a post-surgical SCAT biopsy after 9 months.
SCAT ANGPTL4 expression and circulating protein levels were higher in people with diabetes and correlated with glucose levels and HOMA-IR but not BMI. At post-surgical follow up, SCAT ANGPTL4 declined in subjects with diabetes to levels of those without diabetes. ANGPTL4 expression correlated with HIF1A and inflammation (MCP-1, IL-6).
We found that SCAT ANGPTL4 was closely linked with the expression of ANGPTL4 in the liver and represented a good proxy for liver steatosis. We suggest the elevation of ANGPTL4 levels in diabetes and the association with inflammation and hypoxia is due to a compensatory mechanism to limit further AT dysfunction. A reduction of ANGPTL4 for the treatment of T2DM as previously suggested is thus unlikely to be of further benefit.

Copyright © 2020. Published by Elsevier Inc.