GPR81 is a receptor for the metabolic intermediate lactate with an established role in regulating adipocyte lipolysis. Potentially novel GPR81 agonists were identified that suppressed fasting plasma free fatty acid levels in rodents and in addition improved insulin sensitivity in mouse models of insulin resistance and diabetes. Unexpectedly, the agonists simultaneously induced hypertension in rodents, including wild-type, but not GPR81-deficient mice. Detailed cardiovascular studies in anesthetized dogs showed that the pressor effect was associated with heterogenous effects on vascular resistance among the measured tissues: increasing in the kidney while remaining unchanged in hindlimb and heart. Studies in rats revealed that the pressor effect could be blocked, and the renal resistance effect at least partially blocked, with pharmacological antagonism of endothelin receptors. In situ hybridization localized GPR81 to the microcirculation, notably afferent arterioles of the kidney. In conclusion, these results provide evidence for a potentially novel role of GPR81 agonism in blood pressure control and regulation of renal vascular resistance including modulation of a known vasoeffector mechanism, the endothelin system. In addition, support is provided for the concept of fatty acid lowering as a means of improving insulin sensitivity.


Kristina Wallenius, Pia Thalén, Jan-Arne Björkman, Petra Johannesson, John Wiseman, Gerhard Böttcher, Ola Fjellström, Nicholas D. Oakes


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