Minireview: Roles of Fibroblast Growth Factors 19 and 21 in Metabolic Regulation and Chronic Diseases

Mol Endocrinol. 2015 Oct;29(10):1400-13. doi: 10.1210/me.2015-1155. Epub 2015 Aug 26.


Fibroblast growth factor (FGF)19 and FGF21 are hormones that regulate metabolic processes particularly during feeding or starvation, thus ultimately influencing energy production. FGF19 is secreted by the intestines during feeding and negatively regulates bile acid synthesis and secretion, whereas FGF21 is produced in the liver during fasting and plays a crucial role in regulating glucose and lipid metabolism, as well as maintaining energy homeostasis. FGF19 and FGF21 are regarded as late-acting hormones because their functions are only used after insulin and glucagon have completed their actions. Although FGF19 and FGF21 are activated under different conditions, they show extensively functional overlap in terms of improving glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity, weight loss, and lipid, and energy metabolism, particularly in pathological conditions such as diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular and renal diseases. Most patients with these metabolic diseases exhibit reduced serum FGF19 levels, which might contribute to its etiology. In addition, the simultaneous increase in serum FGF21 levels is likely a compensatory response to reduced FGF19 levels, and the 2 proteins concertedly maintain metabolic homeostasis. Here, we review the physiological and pharmacological cross talk between FGF19 and FGF21 in relation to the regulation of endocrine metabolism and various chronic diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipose Tissue, White / metabolism
  • Chronic Disease*
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Metabolic Syndrome / metabolism
  • Metabolism*


  • fibroblast growth factor 21
  • Fibroblast Growth Factors