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Background: Endocrine FGF19 and FGF21 exert their effects on metabolic homeostasis through fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) and co-factor betaKlotho (KLB). Ileal FGF19 regulates bile acid metabolism through specifically FGFR4-KLB in hepatocytes where FGFR1 is not significant. Both FGF19 and FGF21 activate FGFR1-KLB whose function predominates in adipocytes. Recent studies using administration of FGF19 and FGF21 and genetic ablation of KLB or adipocyte FGFR1 indicate that FGFR1-KLB mediates the response of adipocytes to both FGF21 and FGF19. Here we show that adipose FGFR1 regulates lipid metabolism through direct effect on adipose tissue and indirect effects on liver under starvation conditions that cause hepatic stress.

Methods: We employed adipocyte-specific ablations of FGFR1 and FGFR2 genes in mice, and analyzed metabolic consequences in adipose tissue, liver and systemic parameters under normal, fasting and starvation conditions.

Results: Under normal conditions, the ablation of adipose FGFR1 had little effect on adipocytes, but caused shifts in expression of hepatic genes involved in lipid metabolism. Starvation conditions precipitated a concurrent elevation of serum triglycerides and non-esterified fatty acids, and increased hepatic steatosis and adipose lipolysis in the FGFR1-deficient mice. Little effect on glucose or ketone bodies due to the FGFR1 deficiency was observed.

Conclusions: Our results suggest an adipocyte-hepatocyte communication network mediated by adipocyte FGFR1 that concurrently dampens hepatic lipogenesis and adipocyte lipolysis. We propose that this serves overall to mete out and extend lipid reserves for neural fuels (glucose and ketone bodies), while at the same time governing extent of hepatosteatosis during metabolic extremes and other conditions causing hepatic stress.


This article was originally published in Nutrition & Metabolism.

© 2012 Yang et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.