Angiopoietin-like protein 4 is an exercise-induced hepatokine in humans, regulated by glucagon and cAMP

Bodil Ingerslev, Jakob S. Hansen, Christoph Hoffmann, Jens O. Clemmesen, Niels H. Secher, Mika Scheler, Martin Hrabĕ de Angelis, Hans U. Häring, Bente K. Pedersen, Cora Weigert, Peter Plomgaard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Objective: Angiopoietin-like protein-4 (ANGPTL4) is a circulating protein that is highly expressed in liver and implicated in regulation of plasma triglyceride levels. Systemic ANGPTL4 increases during prolonged fasting and is suggested to be secreted from skeletal muscle following exercise. Methods: We investigated the origin of exercise-induced ANGPTL4 in humans by measuring the arterial-to-venous difference over the leg and the hepato-splanchnic bed during an acute bout of exercise. Furthermore, the impact of the glucagon-to-insulin ratio on plasma ANGPTL4 was studied in healthy individuals. The regulation of ANGPTL4 was investigated in both hepatic and muscle cells. Results: The hepato-splanchnic bed, but not the leg, contributed to exercise-induced plasma ANGPTL4. Further studies using hormone infusions revealed that the glucagon-to-insulin ratio is an important regulator of plasma ANGPTL4 as elevated glucagon in the absence of elevated insulin increased plasma ANGPTL4 in resting subjects, whereas infusion of somatostatin during exercise blunted the increase of both glucagon and ANGPTL4. Moreover, activation of the cAMP/PKA signaling cascade let to an increase in ANGPTL4 mRNA levels in hepatic cells, which was prevented by inhibition of PKA. In humans, muscle ANGPTL4 mRNA increased during fasting, with only a marginal further induction by exercise. In human muscle cells, no inhibitory effect of AMPK activation could be demonstrated on ANGPTL4 expression. Conclusions: The data suggest that exercise-induced ANGPTL4 is secreted from the liver and driven by a glucagon-cAMP-PKA pathway in humans. These findings link the liver, insulin/glucagon, and lipid metabolism together, which could implicate a role of ANGPTL4 in metabolic diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1286-1295
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Metabolism
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Diabetes
  • Insulin
  • Liver
  • Muscle
  • Myokine


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