Patterns of Circulating Fibroblast Growth Factor 21 in Subjects with and without Type 2 Diabetes

Jingyi Lu, Haoyong Yu, Yifei Mo, Xiaojing Ma, Yaping Hao, Wei Lu, Huating Li, Yuqian Bao, Jian Zhou, Weiping Jia
PloS One 2015, 10 (11): e0142207

BACKGROUND: Fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) exerts wide-range effects on carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. However, its perturbation in type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) remains elusive. Besides, previous human studies in T2DM simply investigated fasting or stimulated levels of FGF21. The current study sought to evaluate the temporal changes of circulating FGF21 in subjects with and without T2DM.

METHODS: Ten patients with T2DM and 16 normal controls (NC) were recruited. Participants were categorized as obese (BMI≥25 kg/m2) or lean (BMI<25 kg/m2). Blood samples were drawn every 30 min within 7 hours (8 a.m.-3 p.m.). Serum FGF21, blood glucose, insulin, free fatty acids (FFAs) and adiponectin were measured in all subjects.

RESULTS: The peak levels of FGF21 were observed in the fasting state (8 a.m.) both in T2DM and NC groups (267.35 ±158.72 ng/L vs. 178.93±121.37 ng/L, P = 0.096). FGF21 AUC did not differ significantly between the two groups (T2DM: 949.4±471.47 ng/L; NC: 883.13±561.40 ng/L, P = 0.770). Obese subjects had higher FGF21 levels than lean ones in patients either with or without T2DM. The pattern of FFAs closely resembled that of FGF21. Correlation analysis showed that temporal levels of FGF21 were significantly related to FFAs (r = 0.749, P = 0.002),but not blood glucose, insulin or adiponectin (all P> 0.05).

CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that the pattern of circulating FGF21 does not differ significantly between T2DM and NC,although T2DM patients showed a trend toward higher fasting FGF21 than healthy subjects. The pattern of circulating FFAs is significantly associated with that of FGF21.

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