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Fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) is a potent endocrine regulator with physiological effects on glucose and lipid metabolism and thus garners much attention for its translational potential for the management of obesity and related metabolic syndromes. FGF21 is mainly expressed in several metabolically active tissue organs, such as the liver, adipose tissue, skeletal muscle, and pancreas, with profound effects and therapeutic relevance. Emerging experimental and clinical data point to the demonstrated metabolic benefits of FGF21, which include, but are not limited to, weight loss, glucose and lipid metabolism, and insulin sensitivity. In addition, FGF21 also acts directly through its coreceptor β-klotho in the brain to alter light-dark cycle activity. In this review, we critically appraise current advances in understanding the physiological actions of FGF21 and its role as a biomarker of various metabolic diseases, especially type 2 diabetes mellitus. We also discuss the potentially exciting role of FGF21 in improving our health and prolonging our life span. This information will provide a fuller understanding for further research into FGF21, as well as providing a scientific basis for potentially establishing health care guidelines for this promising molecule. Copyright © 2017 the American Physiological Society.


Ting Xie, Po Sing Leung. Fibroblast growth factor 21: a regulator of metabolic disease and health span. American journal of physiology. Endocrinology and metabolism. 2017 Sep 01;313(3):E292-E302

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PMID: 28559437

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