Apolipoprotein A-IV constrains HPA and behavioral stress responsivity in a strain-dependent manner

Psychoneuroendocrinology. 2017 Dec:86:34-44. doi: 10.1016/j.psyneuen.2017.08.025. Epub 2017 Sep 1.


There is a critical gap in our knowledge of the mechanisms that govern interactions between daily life experiences (e.g., stress) and metabolic diseases, despite evidence that stress can have profound effects on cardiometabolic health. Apolipoprotein A-IV (apoA-IV) is a protein found in chylomicrons (lipoprotein particles that transport lipids throughout the body) where it participates in lipid handling and the regulation of peripheral metabolism. Moreover, apoA-IV is expressed in brain regions that regulate energy balance including the arcuate nucleus. Given that both peripheral and central metabolic processes are important modulators of hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical (HPA) axis activity, the present work tests the hypothesis that apoA-IV activity affects stress responses. As emerging data suggests that apoA-IV actions can vary with background strain, we also explore the strain-dependence of apoA-IV stress regulation. These studies assess HPA axis, metabolic (hyperglycemia), and anxiety-related behavioral responses to psychogenic stress in control (wildtype) and apoA-IV-deficient (KO) mice on either the C57Bl/6J (C57) or 129×1/SvJ (129) background strain. The results indicate that apoA-IV KO increases post-stress corticosterone and anxiety-related behavior specifically in the 129 strain, and increases stress-induced hyperglycemia exclusively in the C57 strain. These data support the hypothesis that apoA-IV is a novel factor that limits stress reactivity in a manner that depends on genetic background. An improved understanding of the complex relationship among lipid homeostasis, stress sensitivity, and genetics is needed to optimize the development of personalized treatments for stress- and metabolism-related diseases.

Keywords: Anxiety-related behavior; Background strain; Corticosterone; HPA axis; Hyperglycemia; Psychogenic stress.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anxiety / metabolism
  • Apolipoproteins A / metabolism*
  • Apolipoproteins A / physiology*
  • Corticosterone / metabolism
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Homeostasis
  • Hyperglycemia / metabolism
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System / metabolism
  • Lipids / physiology
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, 129 Strain / metabolism
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL / metabolism
  • Mice, Inbred Strains / metabolism
  • Mice, Knockout / metabolism
  • Pituitary-Adrenal System / metabolism*
  • Stress, Physiological / physiology
  • Stress, Psychological / metabolism


  • Apolipoproteins A
  • Lipids
  • apolipoprotein A-IV
  • Corticosterone