The nuclear receptor FXR inhibits Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 secretion in response to microbiota-derived Short-Chain Fatty Acids

Sci Rep. 2020 Jan 13;10(1):174. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-56743-x.


The gut microbiota participates in the control of energy homeostasis partly through fermentation of dietary fibers hence producing short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), which in turn promote the secretion of the incretin Glucagon-Like Peptide-1 (GLP-1) by binding to the SCFA receptors FFAR2 and FFAR3 on enteroendocrine L-cells. We have previously shown that activation of the nuclear Farnesoid X Receptor (FXR) decreases the L-cell response to glucose. Here, we investigated whether FXR also regulates the SCFA-induced GLP-1 secretion. GLP-1 secretion in response to SCFAs was evaluated ex vivo in murine colonic biopsies and in colonoids of wild-type (WT) and FXR knock-out (KO) mice, in vitro in GLUTag and NCI-H716 L-cells activated with the synthetic FXR agonist GW4064 and in vivo in WT and FXR KO mice after prebiotic supplementation. SCFA-induced GLP-1 secretion was blunted in colonic biopsies from GW4064-treated mice and enhanced in FXR KO colonoids. In vitro FXR activation inhibited GLP-1 secretion in response to SCFAs and FFAR2 synthetic ligands, mainly by decreasing FFAR2 expression and downstream Gαq-signaling. FXR KO mice displayed elevated colonic FFAR2 mRNA levels and increased plasma GLP-1 levels upon local supply of SCFAs with prebiotic supplementation. Our results demonstrate that FXR activation decreases L-cell GLP-1 secretion in response to inulin-derived SCFA by reducing FFAR2 expression and signaling. Inactivation of intestinal FXR using bile acid sequestrants or synthetic antagonists in combination with prebiotic supplementation may be a promising therapeutic approach to boost the incretin axis in type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Colon / drug effects
  • Colon / metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile / pharmacology*
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Microbiota*
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear / physiology*
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / genetics
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / metabolism


  • FFAR3 protein, mouse
  • Fatty Acids, Volatile
  • Ffar2 protein, mouse
  • Receptors, Cytoplasmic and Nuclear
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • farnesoid X-activated receptor
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1