Hepatic FoxOs link insulin signaling with plasma lipoprotein metabolism through an apolipoprotein M/sphingosine-1-phosphate pathway

María Concepción Izquierdo, Niroshan Shanmugarajah, Samuel X. Lee, Michael J. Kraakman, Marit Westerterp, Takumi Kitamoto, Michael Harris, Joshua R. Cook, Galina A. Gusarova, Kendra Zhong, Elijah Marbuary, In Sug O-Sullivan, Nikolaus Rasmus, Stefania Camastra, Terry G. Unterman, Ele Ferrannini, Barry E. Hurwitz, Rebecca A. Haeusler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Multiple beneficial cardiovascular effects of HDL depend on sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P). S1P associates with HDL by binding to apolipoprotein M (ApoM). Insulin resistance is a major driver of dyslipidemia and cardiovascular risk. However, the mechanisms linking alterations in insulin signaling with plasma lipoprotein metabolism are incompletely understood. The insulin-repressible FoxO transcription factors mediate key effects of hepatic insulin action on glucose and lipoprotein metabolism. This work tested whether hepatic insulin signaling regulates HDL-S1P and aimed to identify the underlying molecular mechanisms. We report that insulin-resistant, nondiabetic individuals had decreased HDL-S1P levels, but no change in total plasma S1P. This also occurred in insulin-resistant db/db mice, which had low ApoM and a specific reduction of S1P in the HDL fraction, with no change in total plasma S1P levels. Using mice lacking hepatic FoxOs (L-FoxO1,3,4), we found that hepatic FoxOs were required for ApoM expression. Total plasma S1P levels were similar to those in controls, but S1P was nearly absent from HDL and was instead increased in the lipoprotein-depleted plasma fraction. This phenotype was restored to normal by rescuing ApoM in L-FoxO1,3,4 mice. Our findings show that insulin resistance in humans and mice is associated with decreased HDL-associated S1P. Our study shows that hepatic FoxO transcription factors are regulators of the ApoM/S1P pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere146219
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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