Microbial short chain fatty acid metabolites lower blood pressure via endothelial G protein-coupled receptor 41

Niranjana Natarajan, Daijiro Hori, Sheila Flavahan, Jochen Steppan, Nicholas A. Flavahan, Dan E. Berkowitz, Jennifer L. Pluznick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

131 Scopus citations


Short chain fatty acid (SCFA) metabolites are byproducts of gut microbial metabolism that are known to affect host physiology via host G proteincoupled receptor (GPCRs). We previously showed that an acute SCFA bolus decreases blood pressure (BP) in anesthetized mice, an effect mediated primarily via Gpr41. In this study, our aims were to identify the cellular localization of Gpr41 and to determine its role in BP regulation. We localized Gpr41 to the vascular endothelium using RT-PCR: Gpr41 is detected in intact vessels (with endothelium) but is absent from denuded vessels (without endothelium). Furthermore, using pressure myography we confirmed that SCFAs dilate resistance vessels in an endothelium-dependent manner. Since we previously found that Gpr41 mediates a hypotensive response to acute SCFA administration, we hypothesized that Gpr41 knockout (KO) mice would be hypertensive. Here, we report that Gpr41 KO mice have isolated systolic hypertension compared with wild-type (WT) mice; diastolic BP was not different between WT and KO. Older Gpr41 KO mice also exhibited elevated pulse wave velocity, consistent with a phenotype of systolic hypertension; however, there was no increase in ex vivo aorta stiffness (measured by mechanical tensile testing). Plasma renin concentrations were also similar in KO and WT mice. The systolic hypertension in Gpr41 KO is not salt sensitive, as it is not significantly altered on either a high- or low-salt diet. In sum, these studies suggest that endothelial Gpr41 lowers baseline BP, likely by decreasing active vascular tone without altering passive characteristics of the blood vessels, and that Gpr41 KO mice have hypertension of a vascular origin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)826-834
Number of pages9
JournalPhysiological Genomics
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 14 2016


  • Acetate
  • Endothelium
  • GPCR
  • Hypertension
  • Microbiota
  • Propionate

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Genetics


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