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      Free Fatty Acid Receptors in Health and Disease

      1 , 1 , 1 , 1

      Physiological Reviews

      American Physiological Society

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          Abstract

          Fatty acids are metabolized and synthesized as energy substrates during biological responses. Long- and medium-chain fatty acids derived mainly from dietary triglycerides, and short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) produced by gut microbial fermentation of the otherwise indigestible dietary fiber, constitute the major sources of free fatty acids (FFAs) in the metabolic network. Recently, increasing evidence indicates that FFAs serve not only as energy sources but also as natural ligands for a group of orphan G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) termed free fatty acid receptors (FFARs), essentially intertwining metabolism and immunity in multiple ways, such as via inflammation regulation and secretion of peptide hormones. To date, several FFARs that are activated by the FFAs of various chain lengths have been identified and characterized. In particular, FFAR1 (GPR40) and FFAR4 (GPR120) are activated by long-chain saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, while FFAR3 (GPR41) and FFAR2 (GPR43) are activated by SCFAs, mainly acetate, butyrate, and propionate. In this review, we discuss the recent reports on the key physiological functions of the FFAR-mediated signaling transduction pathways in the regulation of metabolism and immune responses. We also attempt to reveal future research opportunities for developing therapeutics for metabolic and immune disorders.

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          Most cited references 271

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          Short-chain fatty acids and human colonic function: roles of resistant starch and nonstarch polysaccharides.

          Resistant starch (RS) is starch and products of its small intestinal digestion that enter the large bowel. It occurs for various reasons including chemical structure, cooking of food, chemical modification, and food mastication. Human colonic bacteria ferment RS and nonstarch polysaccharides (NSP; major components of dietary fiber) to short-chain fatty acids (SCFA), mainly acetate, propionate, and butyrate. SCFA stimulate colonic blood flow and fluid and electrolyte uptake. Butyrate is a preferred substrate for colonocytes and appears to promote a normal phenotype in these cells. Fermentation of some RS types favors butyrate production. Measurement of colonic fermentation in humans is difficult, and indirect measures (e.g., fecal samples) or animal models have been used. Of the latter, rodents appear to be of limited value, and pigs or dogs are preferable. RS is less effective than NSP in stool bulking, but epidemiological data suggest that it is more protective against colorectal cancer, possibly via butyrate. RS is a prebiotic, but knowledge of its other interactions with the microflora is limited. The contribution of RS to fermentation and colonic physiology seems to be greater than that of NSP. However, the lack of a generally accepted analytical procedure that accommodates the major influences on RS means this is yet to be established.
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            Functional characterization of human receptors for short chain fatty acids and their role in polymorphonuclear cell activation.

            Short chain fatty acids (SCFAs), including acetate, propionate, and butyrate, are produced at high concentration by bacteria in the gut and subsequently released in the bloodstream. Basal acetate concentrations in the blood (about 100 microm) can further increase to millimolar concentrations following alcohol intake. It was known previously that SCFAs can activate leukocytes, particularly neutrophils. In the present work, we have identified two previously orphan G protein-coupled receptors, GPR41 and GPR43, as receptors for SCFAs. Propionate was the most potent agonist for both GPR41 and GPR43. Acetate was more selective for GPR43, whereas butyrate and isobutyrate were more active on GPR41. The two receptors were coupled to inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate formation, intracellular Ca2+ release, ERK1/2 activation, and inhibition of cAMP accumulation. They exhibited, however, a differential coupling to G proteins; GPR41 coupled exclusively though the Pertussis toxin-sensitive Gi/o family, whereas GPR43 displayed a dual coupling through Gi/o and Pertussis toxin-insensitive Gq protein families. The broad expression profile of GPR41 in a number of tissues does not allow us to infer clear hypotheses regarding its biological functions. In contrast, the highly selective expression of GPR43 in leukocytes, particularly polymorphonuclear cells, suggests a role in the recruitment of these cell populations toward sites of bacterial infection. The pharmacology of GPR43 matches indeed the effects of SCFAs on neutrophils, in terms of intracellular Ca2+ release and chemotaxis. Such a neutrophil-specific SCFA receptor is potentially involved in the development of a variety of diseases characterized by either excessive or inefficient neutrophil recruitment and activation, such as inflammatory bowel diseases or alcoholism-associated immune depression. GPR43 might therefore constitute a target allowing us to modulate immune responses in these pathological situations.
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              Short-chain fatty acids and ketones directly regulate sympathetic nervous system via G protein-coupled receptor 41 (GPR41).

              The maintenance of energy homeostasis is essential for life, and its dysregulation leads to a variety of metabolic disorders. Under a fed condition, mammals use glucose as the main metabolic fuel, and short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) produced by the colonic bacterial fermentation of dietary fiber also contribute a significant proportion of daily energy requirement. Under ketogenic conditions such as starvation and diabetes, ketone bodies produced in the liver from fatty acids are used as the main energy sources. To balance energy intake, dietary excess and starvation trigger an increase or a decrease in energy expenditure, respectively, by regulating the activity of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS). The regulation of metabolic homeostasis by glucose is well recognized; however, the roles of SCFAs and ketone bodies in maintaining energy balance remain unclear. Here, we show that SCFAs and ketone bodies directly regulate SNS activity via GPR41, a Gi/o protein-coupled receptor for SCFAs, at the level of the sympathetic ganglion. GPR41 was most abundantly expressed in sympathetic ganglia in mouse and humans. SCFA propionate promoted sympathetic outflow via GPR41. On the other hand, a ketone body, β-hydroxybutyrate, produced during starvation or diabetes, suppressed SNS activity by antagonizing GPR41. Pharmacological and siRNA experiments indicated that GPR41-mediated activation of sympathetic neurons involves Gβγ-PLCβ-MAPK signaling. Sympathetic regulation by SCFAs and ketone bodies correlated well with their respective effects on energy consumption. These findings establish that SCFAs and ketone bodies directly regulate GPR41-mediated SNS activity and thereby control body energy expenditure in maintaining metabolic homeostasis.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Physiological Reviews
                Physiological Reviews
                American Physiological Society
                0031-9333
                1522-1210
                January 01 2020
                January 01 2020
                : 100
                : 1
                : 171-210
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Applied Biological Science, Graduate School of Agriculture, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, Fuchu-shi, Tokyo, Japan; AMED-CREST, Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, Japan; and Department of Biochemistry, Kyoto University Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Science, Sakyo, Kyoto, Japan
                Article
                10.1152/physrev.00041.2018
                31487233
                © 2020

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