The hepatic response to FGF19 is impaired in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease and insulin resistance

Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2010 Mar;298(3):G440-5. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.00322.2009. Epub 2010 Jan 21.


Intestinal FGF19 has emerged as a novel endocrine regulator of hepatic bile salt and lipid metabolism. In patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) hepatic lipid metabolism is deranged. A possible role of FGF19 in NAFLD has not been reported yet. In this study, we assessed intestinal FGF19 production and the hepatic response to FGF19 in NAFLD patients with and without insulin resistance [homeostasis model of assessment (HOMA) score > or =2.5 (n = 12) and HOMA score <2.5 (n = 8), respectively]. To this end, NAFLD patients received a standardized oral fat challenge. Postprandial excursions of triglycerides, bile salts, and FGF19 were monitored, and plasma levels of a marker for bile salt synthesis (7alpha-hydroxy-4-cholesten-3-one) were determined. Fasted FGF19 levels were comparable in a control group of healthy volunteers (n = 15) and in NAFLD patients (0.26 +/- 0.28 vs. 0.18 +/- 0.09 ng/ml, respectively, P = 0.94). Postprandial FGF19 levels in both controls and NAFLD patients peaked between 3-4 h and were three times higher than baseline levels. The areas under the postprandial FGF19 curve were similar in controls and in the HOMA score-based NAFLD subgroups. In NAFLD patients with HOMA score <2.5, the postprandial increase in plasma FGF19 was accompanied by a lowering of plasma levels of 7alpha-hydroxy-4-cholesten-3-one (-30%, P = 0.015). This anticipated decline was not observed in insulin-resistant NAFLD patients (+10%, P = 0.22). In conclusion, patients with NAFLD show an unimpaired intestinal FGF19 production. However, the hepatic response to FGF19 is impaired in NAFLD patients with insulin resistance (HOMA score > or =2.5). This impaired hepatic response to FGF19 may contribute to the dysregulation of lipid homeostasis in NAFLD.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Area Under Curve
  • Bile Acids and Salts / blood
  • Bile Acids and Salts / metabolism
  • Cholestenones / blood
  • Cholestenones / metabolism
  • Dietary Fats / metabolism
  • Fatty Liver / blood*
  • Fatty Liver / metabolism
  • Female
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / blood*
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology*
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postprandial Period / physiology
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Triglycerides / metabolism


  • Bile Acids and Salts
  • Cholestenones
  • Dietary Fats
  • FGF19 protein, human
  • Triglycerides
  • 7 alpha-hydroxy-4-cholesten-3-one
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors