Background: Fibroblast growth factor (FGF)-21 has been recently characterized as a potent metabolic regulator, but the physiological role of FGF-21 remains poorly understood. This study was designed to investigate serum FGF-21 levels in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) patients and explore the correlations between its serum levels and various cardiometabolic parameters in humans.
Methods: Fifty-four newly diagnosed patients with T2DM (NDDM), 54 subjects with long duration of T2DM (LDDM), that is, more than 5 years, and 35 normal controls participated in this study. Fasting serum FGF-21 levels were measured using ELISA kits. The anthropometric parameters, glucose, glycosylated hemoglobin A1c, lipids, insulin, and high-sensitive C-reactive protein (hsCRP) levels were also measured in fasting status.
Results: Serum FGF-21 levels were significantly higher in patients with NDDM and LDDM than in controls (361.80 ± 140.28 pg/mL and 351.17 ± 133.44 pg/mL vs. 185.89 ± 59.29 pg/mL, both p < 0.01), but there was no difference in serum FGF-21 levels between NDDM and LDDM. Fasting serum FGF-21 was found to correlate positively and significantly with age, waist-to-hip ratio, systolic blood pressure, fasting plasma glucose, glycosylated hemoglobin A1c, homeostasis model assessment (HOMA) of insulin resistance, and hsCRP, but negatively with HOMA of β-cell insulin secretion. Furthermore, multiple regression analyses showed that fasting insulin, HOMA of insulin resistance, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and hsCRP were independent factors influencing serum FGF-21 levels. Logistic regression analyses demonstrated that serum FGF-21 was significantly associated with T2DM.
Conclusions: Serum FGF-21 levels were significantly increased in patients with T2DM. They may play a role in the pathogenesis of T2DM.