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Gene Review

Fgf21  -  fibroblast growth factor 21

Mus musculus

Synonyms: FGF-21, Fibroblast growth factor 21
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Disease relevance of Fgf21

  • Importantly, FGF-21 did not induce mitogenicity, hypoglycemia, or weight gain at any dose tested in diabetic or healthy animals or when overexpressed in transgenic mice [1].
  • This indicates a dual function of FGF21 that may reflect changes in FGFR isotype during progression of differentiated hepatoma cells [2].

High impact information on Fgf21

  • Here we describe a potential novel therapeutic agent for this disease, FGF-21, which was discovered to be a potent regulator of glucose uptake in mouse 3T3-L1 and primary human adipocytes [1].
  • Fibroblast growth factor-21 improves pancreatic beta-cell function and survival by activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 and Akt signaling pathways [3].
  • No effect of FGF-21 was observed on islet cell proliferation [3].
  • Islets and INS-1E cells treated with FGF-21 were partially protected from glucolipotoxicity and cytokine-induced apoptosis [3].
  • In conclusion, preservation of beta-cell function and survival by FGF-21 may contribute to the beneficial effects of this protein on glucose homeostasis observed in diabetic animals [3].

Anatomical context of Fgf21

  • FGF-21 mRNA was most abundantly expressed in the liver, and also expressed in the thymus at lower levels [4].
  • Forced overexpression of FGF21 in hepatocytes by gene targeting had no apparent impact on normal liver development and compensatory response to injury [2].
  • Here, we investigated the effects of FGF-21 in the pancreatic beta-cell [3].

Analytical, diagnostic and therapeutic context of Fgf21

  • The expression of FGF-21 mRNA in mouse adult tissues was examined by Northern blotting analysis [4].
  • We showed that similar to FGF1 and FGF2, FGF21 mRNA was upregulated in neoplastic and regenerating liver after partial hepatectomy (PH) and CCl(4) administration [2].
  • In situ hybridization analysis confirmed that in contrast to FGF1 and FGF2, expression of FGF21 mRNA was limited to hepatocytes [2].
  • Short-term treatment of normal or db/db mice with FGF-21 lowered plasma levels of insulin and improved glucose clearance compared with vehicle after oral glucose tolerance testing [3].
  • Immunohistochemistry of pancreata from db/db mice showed a substantial increase in the intensity of insulin staining in islets from FGF-21-treated animals as well as a higher number of islets per pancreas section and of insulin-positive cells per islet compared with control [3].


  1. FGF-21 as a novel metabolic regulator. Kharitonenkov, A., Shiyanova, T.L., Koester, A., Ford, A.M., Micanovic, R., Galbreath, E.J., Sandusky, G.E., Hammond, L.J., Moyers, J.S., Owens, R.A., Gromada, J., Brozinick, J.T., Hawkins, E.D., Wroblewski, V.J., Li, D.S., Mehrbod, F., Jaskunas, S.R., Shanafelt, A.B. J. Clin. Invest. (2005) [Pubmed]
  2. Forced expression of hepatocyte-specific fibroblast growth factor 21 delays initiation of chemically induced hepatocarcinogenesis. Huang, X., Yu, C., Jin, C., Yang, C., Xie, R., Cao, D., Wang, F., McKeehan, W.L. Mol. Carcinog. (2006) [Pubmed]
  3. Fibroblast growth factor-21 improves pancreatic beta-cell function and survival by activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 and Akt signaling pathways. Wente, W., Efanov, A.M., Brenner, M., Kharitonenkov, A., Köster, A., Sandusky, G.E., Sewing, S., Treinies, I., Zitzer, H., Gromada, J. Diabetes (2006) [Pubmed]
  4. Identification of a novel FGF, FGF-21, preferentially expressed in the liver. Nishimura, T., Nakatake, Y., Konishi, M., Itoh, N. Biochim. Biophys. Acta (2000) [Pubmed]
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