FGF-21 finds itself as a new therapy for type 2 diabetes

Members of the fibroblast growth factor (FGF) family of proteins play many regulatory roles in several tissues. FGF-21 is a novel member of the FGF family, but its biological role was not known. In a study appearing online on May 2 in advance of the print publication of the June issue of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Alexei Kharitonenkov and colleagues from Lilly Research Laboratories show that FGF-21 may be a new therapeutic treatment for Diabetes Mellitus.

The researchers show that FGF-21 regulates glucose uptake in human fat cells. Moreover, therapeutic administration of FGF-21 decreased plasma glucose levels and triglycerides to near normal levels in multiple mouse models of type 2 diabetes. FGF-21, when overexpressed, protected animals from diet-induced obesity. These results define a functional role for FGF-21 in vivo and provide evidence that FGF-21 can lower glucose and triglyceride levels in diabetic animals.

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