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Annu Rev Nutr. 2018 Aug 21;38:173-196. doi: 10.1146/annurev-nutr-071816-064800. Epub 2018 May 4.

Fibroblast Growth Factor 21: A Versatile Regulator of Metabolic Homeostasis.

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Department of Pharmacology and Fraternal Order of Eagles Diabetes Research Center, University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Iowa City, Iowa 52242, USA; email:


Fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) is an endocrine hormone derived from the liver that exerts pleiotropic effects on the body to maintain overall metabolic homeostasis. During the past decade, there has been an enormous effort made to understand the physiological roles of FGF21 in regulating metabolism and to identify the mechanism for its potent pharmacological effects to reverse diabetes and obesity. Through both human and rodent studies, it is now evident that FGF21 levels are dynamically regulated by nutrient sensing, and consequently FGF21 functions as a critical regulator of nutrient homeostasis. In addition, recent studies using new genetic and molecular tools have provided critical insight into the actions of this endocrine factor. This review examines the numerous functions of FGF21 and highlights the therapeutic potential of FGF21-targeted pathways for treating metabolic disease.


FGF21; adipose; alcohol; macronutrient; thermogenesis; β-klotho

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