FFA4/GPR120: Pharmacology and Therapeutic Opportunities

Trends Pharmacol Sci. 2017 Sep;38(9):809-821. doi: 10.1016/j.tips.2017.06.006. Epub 2017 Jul 19.


Free Fatty Acid receptor 4 (FFA4), also known as GPR120, is a G-protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) responsive to long-chain fatty acids that is attracting considerable attention as a potential novel therapeutic target for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Although no clinical studies have yet been initiated to assess efficacy in this indication, a significant number of primary publications and patents have highlighted the ability of agonists with potency at FFA4 to improve glucose disposition and enhance insulin sensitivity in animal models. However, the distribution pattern of the receptor suggests that targeting FFA4 may also be useful in other conditions, ranging from cancer to lung function. Here, we discuss and contextualise the basis for these ideas and the results to support these conclusions.

Keywords: G protein-coupled receptor; cancer; diabetes; free fatty acid; lung function inflammation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / agonists*
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / antagonists & inhibitors*


  • FFAR4 protein, human
  • FFAR4 protein, mouse
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled