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Investigation of the Proliferative Potential of FGF21 or FGF19 in Liver-Specific FGFR4-Deficient Mice.

Toxicologic Pathology 2023 April 27
Fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) and FGF15/FGF19 belong to the same subgroup of FGFs and are believed to have therapeutic potential in the treatment of type 2 diabetes and associated metabolic dysfunctionalities and pathological conditions. FGF19 has been proposed to induce hyperplasia and liver tumors in FVB mice (named after its susceptibility to Friend leukemia virus B), mediated by the FGF receptor 4 (FGFR4). The goal of this work was to investigate whether FGF21 might also have a potential proliferative effect mediated via FGFR4 using liver-specific Fgfr4 knockout (KO) mice. We conducted a mechanistic 7-day study involving female Fgfr4 fl/fl and Fgfr4 KO mice with a treatment regimen of twice daily or daily subcutaneous injections of FGF21 or FGF19 (positive control), respectively. The Ki-67 liver labeling index (LI) was evaluated by a semi-automated bioimaging analysis. The results showed a statistically significant increase in FGF21- and FGF19-treated Fgfr4 fl/fl mice. Interestingly, in Fgfr4 KO mice, this effect was absent following both treatments of FGF19 and FGF21, indicating that not only the FGFR4 receptor is pivotal for the mediation of hepatocellular proliferation by FGF19 leading finally to liver tumors but it seems also that FGFR4/FGF21 signaling has an impact on the hepatocellular proliferative activity, which does not promote the formation of hepatocellular liver tumors based on the current knowledge.

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