Newly identified hormone may help fight obesity and reduce cholesterol

Washington: Giving obese rodents a recently identified circulating protein called fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) helps improve their metabolism, a new study has suggested.

Investigators are now saying that a variant of FGF21 has similar effects in obese people with type 2 diabetes.

Senior author Dr. David Moller, vice president of endocrine and cardiovascular research at Eli Lilly and Company, said that their findings suggest that FGF21 has the ability to favorably affect body weight and to partially normalize abnormal lipid levels in patients with diabetes and that these are substantial issues and unmet medical needs for patients with obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Lilly scientists initially identified FGF21 as a novel target for its potential in treating metabolic disorders. Dr. Moller and his colleagues studied the effects of LY2405319 (LY), a variant of FGF21, in a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind proof-of-concept trial in 46 patients with obesity and type 2 diabetes.

LY treatment led to decreases in LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, increases in HDL cholesterol, and decreases in atherosclerosis-causing lipoproteins.

LY also reduced body weight and fasting insulin, and it increased adiponectin, a hormone produced by fat cells that may augment insulin`s effects.

The study has been published in Cell Press journal Cell Metabolism.