FGF19, FGF21, and an FGFR1/β-Klotho-Activating Antibody Act on the Nervous System to Regulate Body Weight and Glycemia

Tian Lan, Donald A. Morgan, Kamal Rahmouni, Junichiro Sonoda, Xiaorong Fu, Shawn C. Burgess, William L. Holland, Steven A. Kliewer, David J. Mangelsdorf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

168 Scopus citations


Despite the different physiologic functions of FGF19 and FGF21 as hormonal regulators of fed and fasted metabolism, their pharmacologic administration causes similar increases in energy expenditure, weight loss, and enhanced insulin sensitivity in obese animals. Here, in genetic loss-of-function studies of the shared co-receptor β-Klotho, we show that these pharmacologic effects are mediated through a common, tissue-specific pathway. Surprisingly, FGF19 and FGF21 actions in liver and adipose tissue are not required for their longer-term weight loss and glycemic effects. In contrast, β-Klotho in neurons is essential for both FGF19 and FGF21 to cause weight loss and lower glucose and insulin levels. We further show an FGF21 mimetic antibody that activates the FGF receptor 1/β-Klotho complex also requires neuronal β-Klotho for its metabolic effects. These studies highlight the importance of the nervous system in mediating the beneficial weight loss and glycemic effects of endocrine FGF drugs. The tissue-specific actions of FGF19- and FGF21-based therapeutics have stimulated considerable scientific and clinical interest. Lan et al. show that FGF19, FGF21, and an antibody mimetic require the co-receptor, β-Klotho, in neurons, but not hepatocytes or adipocytes, to mediate their beneficial metabolic effects on body weight and glycemia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)709-718.e3
JournalCell Metabolism
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 7 2017


  • FGF19
  • FGF19/FGF21 mimetic antibody
  • FGF21
  • adipose
  • diabetes
  • insulin sensitizer
  • nervous system
  • obesity
  • weight loss
  • β-Klotho

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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