Impact of Acutely Increased Endogenous- and Exogenous Ketone Bodies on FGF21 Levels in Humans

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PURPOSE: Fibroblast growth factor (FGF) 21 is a circulating hormone with metabolic regulatory importance. In mice, FGF21 increases in response to a ketogenic diet and fasting. In humans, a similar increase is only observed after prolonged starvation. We aim to study the acute effects of ketone bodies on circulating FGF21 levels in humans.

METHODS: Participants from three randomized, placebo-controlled crossover studies, with increased endogenous or exogenous ketone bodies, were included. Study 1: patients with type 1 diabetes (T1D) (n = 9) were investigated after a) insulin deprivation and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) injection and b) insulin-controlled euglycemia. Study 2: patients with T1D (n = 9) were investigated after a) total insulin deprivation for 9 hours and b) insulin-controlled euglycemia. Study 3: Healthy adults (n = 9) were examined during a) 3-hydroxybutyrate (OHB) infusion and b) saline infusion. Plasma FGF21 was measured with immunoassay in serial samples.

RESULTS: Circulating OHB levels were significantly increased to 1.3, 1.5, and 5.5 mmol/l in the three studies, but no correlations with FGF21 levels were found. Also, no correlations between FGF21, insulin, or glucagon were found. Insulin deprivation and LPS injection resulted in increased plasma FGF21 levels at t = 120 min (p = .005) which normalized at t = 240 min.

CONCLUSION: We found no correlation between circulating FGF21 levels and levels of ketone bodies. This suggests that it is not ketosis per se which controls FGF21 production, but instead a rather more complex regulatory mechanism.

TRIAL REGISTRATION: ID number: Study 1: NCT02157155 (5/6-2014), study 2: NCT02077348 (4/3-2014), and study 3: NCT02357550 (6/2-2015).

TidsskriftEndocrine Research
Sider (fra-til)20-27
Antal sider8
StatusUdgivet - jan. 2021

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