Hepatic expression of lipopolysaccharide-binding protein (Lbp) is induced by the gut microbiota through Myd88 and impairs glucose tolerance in mice independent of obesity

Antonio Molinaro, Ara Koh, Hao Wu, Marc Schoeler, ... Robert Caesar


Gut-derived inflammatory factors can impair glucose homeostasis, but the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. In this study, we investigated how hepatic gene expression is regulated by gut colonization status through myeloid differentiation primary response 88 (MYD88) and how one of the regulated genes, lipopolysaccharide-binding protein (Lbp), affects insulin signaling and systemic glucose homeostasis.


Liver transcriptomics analysis was conducted on four groups of mice fed a chow diet: conventionally raised (CONV-R) wild-type, germ-free (GF) wild-type, CONV-R Myd88 KO, and GF Myd88 KO. Primary hepatocytes were exposed to combinations of lipopolysaccharide (LPS), LBP, and the LBP-blocking peptide LBPK95A, and the effect on insulin signaling was determined. To assess how LBP affects glucose metabolism in vivo, two mouse models were applied: treatment with LBPK95A and hepatic knockdown of Lbp using CRISPR-CAS9.


We showed that the colonization status regulates gene expression in the liver and that a subset of these genes, including Lbp, is regulated through MYD88. Furthermore, we demonstrated that LBP impairs insulin signaling in hepatocytes in the presence of low levels of LPS and that the effect of LBP is abolished by LBPK95A. We showed that both systemic pharmacological blocking of LBP by LBPK95A and CRISPR-CAS9-mediated downregulation of hepatic Lbp improve glucose homeostasis.


Our results demonstrate that the gut microbiota regulates hepatic expression of Lbpthrough MYD88-dependent signaling. LBP potentiates LPS inhibition of insulin signaling in vitro and impairs systemic glucose homeostasis in vivo.