Dual actions of fibroblast growth factor 19 on lipid metabolism

J Lipid Res. 2013 Feb;54(2):325-32. doi: 10.1194/jlr.M027094. Epub 2012 Dec 2.


Elevated triglyceride (TG) and cholesterol levels are risk factors for cardiovascular disease and are often associated with diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Recent reports suggest that fibroblast growth factor (FGF)19 and FGF21 can dramatically improve metabolic dysfunction, including hyperglycemia, hypertriglyceridemia, and hypercholesterolemia. Due to their similar receptor specificities and co-receptor requirements, FGF19 and FGF21 share many common properties and have been thought to be interchangeable in metabolic regulation. Here we directly compared how pharmacological administration of recombinant FGF19 or FGF21 proteins affect metabolism in B6.V-Lep(ob)/J leptin-deficient mice. FGF19 and FGF21 equally improved glucose parameters; however, we observed increased serum TG and cholesterol levels after treatment with FGF19 but not with FGF21. Increases in serum TGs were also observed after a 4-day treatment with FGF19 in C57BL6/J mice on a high-fat diet. This is in contrast to many literature reports that showed significant improvements in hyperlipidemia after chronic treatment with FGF19 or FGF21 in high-fat diet models. We propose that FGF19 has lipid-raising and lipid-lowering actions mediated through different FGF receptors and target tissues, and the results described here provide a potential mechanism that may explain the inconsistency in the reported effects of FGF19 on lipid metabolism.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Diet / adverse effects
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / chemistry
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / pharmacology*
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects*
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Obesity / blood
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Receptor, Fibroblast Growth Factor, Type 4 / metabolism
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Triglycerides
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors
  • Cholesterol
  • Fgfr4 protein, mouse
  • Receptor, Fibroblast Growth Factor, Type 4