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Eur J Pharmacol. 2013 Feb 28;702(1-3):302-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar.2012.11.065. Epub 2013 Jan 7.

FGF21 suppresses hepatic glucose production through the activation of atypical protein kinase Cι/λ.

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Merck Research Laboratories, RY80T-B119, Rahway, NJ 07065, USA.


Fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) has been identified as a potent and robust metabolic regulator. Administration of recombinant FGF21 protein to rodents and rhesus monkeys exerts strong anti-diabetic effects. Previous studies have demonstrated that FGF21 inhibits glucose output in the rat H4IIE hepatoma cell line. We performed pharmacological studies to investigate the mechanisms by which FGF21 regulates glucose production in these cells. We found that both insulin and FGF21 suppressed gene expression of G6Pase and PEPCK. Accordingly, glucose production was inhibited. The FGF21 effects were phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)-dependent, and, unlike insulin, Akt-independent. Additionally, we found that FGF21 induced PKCι/λ phosphorylation in a PI3K-dependent manner; and that a non-isoform selective PKC inhibitor blocked FGF21 inhibition of glucose production, while an inhibitor of classical and novel PKC isoforms had no effect on FGF21 inhibitory activity. Furthermore, hepatic PKCι/λ phosphorylation was upregulated in FGF21-treated diabetic db/db mice.These data support the proposition that FGF21 inhibits hepatic glucose production by the PI3K-dependent activation of PKCι/λ.

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