The metabolic state of diabetic monkeys is regulated by fibroblast growth factor-21

Endocrinology. 2007 Feb;148(2):774-81. doi: 10.1210/en.2006-1168. Epub 2006 Oct 26.


Fibroblast growth factor (FGF)-21 has been recently characterized as a potent metabolic regulator. Systemic administration of FGF-21 reduced plasma glucose and triglycerides to near normal levels in genetically compromised diabetic rodents. Importantly, these effects were durable and did not come at the expense of weight gain, hypoglycemia, or mitogenicity. To explore the therapeutic properties of FGF-21 in a nongenetically modified primate species, and thus demonstrate the potential for efficacy in humans, we evaluated its bioactivity in diabetic nonhuman primates. When administered daily for 6 wk to diabetic rhesus monkeys, FGF-21 caused a dramatic decline in fasting plasma glucose, fructosamine, triglycerides, insulin, and glucagon. Of significant importance in regard to safety, hypoglycemia was not observed at any point during the study. FGF-21 administration also led to significant improvements in lipoprotein profiles, including lowering of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and raising of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, beneficial changes in the circulating levels of several cardiovascular risk markers/factors, and the induction of a small but significant weight loss. These data support the development of FGF-21 for the treatment of diabetes and other metabolic diseases.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Cholesterol, HDL / blood
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus / etiology
  • Diabetes Mellitus / metabolism*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Eating / drug effects
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / administration & dosage
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / metabolism*
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / pharmacokinetics
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Obesity / complications
  • Recombinant Proteins / administration & dosage
  • Recombinant Proteins / metabolism
  • Recombinant Proteins / pharmacokinetics
  • Recombinant Proteins / pharmacology
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Blood Glucose
  • Cholesterol, HDL
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Triglycerides
  • fibroblast growth factor 21
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors