Apolipoprotein A4 Elevates Sympathetic Activity and Thermogenesis in Male Mice

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Long-chain fatty acids induce apolipoprotein A4 (APOA4) production in the small intestine and activate brown adipose tissue (BAT) thermogenesis. The increase in BAT thermogenesis enhances triglyceride clearance and insulin sensitivity. Acute administration of recombinant APOA4 protein elevates BAT thermogenesis in chow-fed mice. However, the physiological role of continuous infusion of recombinant APOA4 protein in regulating sympathetic activity, thermogenesis, and lipid and glucose metabolism in low-fat-diet (LFD)-fed mice remained elusive. The hypothesis of this study was that continuous infusion of mouse APOA4 protein would increase sympathetic activity and thermogenesis in BAT and subcutaneous inguinal white adipose tissue (IWAT), attenuate plasma lipid levels, and improve glucose tolerance. To test this hypothesis, sympathetic activity, BAT temperature, energy expenditure, body weight, fat mass, caloric intake, glucose tolerance, and levels of BAT and IWAT thermogenic and lipolytic proteins, plasma lipids, and markers of fatty acid oxidation in the liver in mice with APOA4 or saline treatment were measured. Plasma APOA4 levels were elevated, BAT temperature and thermogenesis were upregulated, and plasma triglyceride (TG) levels were reduced, while body weight, fat mass, caloric intake, energy expenditure, and plasma cholesterol and leptin levels were comparable between APOA4- and saline-treated mice. Additionally, APOA4 infusion stimulated sympathetic activity in BAT and liver but not in IWAT. APOA4-treated mice had greater fatty acid oxidation but less TG content in the liver than saline-treated mice had. Plasma insulin in APOA4-treated mice was lower than that in saline-treated mice after a glucose challenge. In conclusion, continuous infusion of mouse APOA4 protein stimulated sympathetic activity in BAT and the liver, elevated BAT thermogenesis and hepatic fatty acid oxidation, and consequently attenuated levels of plasma and hepatic TG and plasma insulin without altering caloric intake, body weight gain and fat mass.