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Exp Cell Res. 2017 Nov 1;360(1):2-5. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2017.05.006. Epub 2017 May 23.

Fatty liver and FGF21 physiology.

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Harvard Medical School, Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, CLS 7 3 Blackfan Circle, Boston, MA 02215, United States. Electronic address:


Non alcoholic fatty liver disease is linked to obesity and the metabolic syndrome. As rates of obesity rise it has become the major etiology of liver dysfunction. Despite intense study the molecular mechanisms contributing to the onset of fatty liver remain debatable. Furthermore, few therapies exist and as a result dietary therapy is commonly prescribed and remains problematic. Fibroblast growth factor is a complex metabolic regulator that is synthesized in multiple organs including the liver, with resulting complex systemic effects. Several lines of evidence suggest that effects in the liver lead to decreased fat accumulation and that treatment results in reduced inflammation and fibrosis. Understanding the physiology of FGF21 is important to the understanding of liver disease and may also provide targets for future therapy.


FGF21; Insulin resistance; Metabolic syndrome; Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; Obesity

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