The Hormone FGF21 Stimulates Water Drinking in Response to Ketogenic Diet and Alcohol

Parkyong Song, Christoph Peter Gerhard Zechner, Genaro Hernandez, José Cánovas, Yang Xie, Varun Sondhi, Martin Wagner, Vanessa Stadlbauer, Angela Horvath, Bettina Leber, Ming C Hu, Orson W Moe, David J Mangelsdorf, Steven A Kliewer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

66 Scopus citations


Alcohol and ketogenic diets increase water consumption. Here, we show that the hormone FGF21 is required for this drinking response in mice. Circulating levels of FGF21 are increased by alcohol consumption in humans and by both alcohol and ketogenic diets in mice. Pharmacologic administration of FGF21 stimulates water drinking behavior in mice within 2 hr. Concordantly, mice lacking FGF21 fail to increase water intake in response to either alcohol or a ketogenic diet. The effect of FGF21 on drinking is mediated in part by SIM1-positive neurons of the hypothalamus and is inhibited by β-adrenergic receptor antagonists. Given that FGF21 also is known to suppress alcohol intake in favor of pure water, this work identifies FGF21 as a fundamental neurotropic hormone that governs water balance in response to specific nutrient stresses that can cause dehydration. Song et al. show that the metabolic hormone FGF21 is involved in water drinking in response to metabolic stresses, such as alcohol intake and ketogenic diets, which can cause dehydration. The effect of FGF21 on water balance is mediated by a hypothalamic circuit that is dependent on β-adrenergic signaling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1338-1347.e4
JournalCell Metabolism
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 5 2018


  • FGF21
  • alcohol
  • hypothalamus
  • ketogenic diet
  • neurons
  • water drinking
  • β-adrenergic signaling
  • β-klotho

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology


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