Metabolic Messengers | Published:

Metabolic Messengers: fibroblast growth factor 15/19


Fibroblast growth factor (FGF) 15 in mice and its human orthologue FGF19 (together denoted FGF15/19) are gut hormones that control homeostasis of bile acids and glucose during the transition from the fed to the fasted state. Apart from its central role in the regulation of bile acid homeostasis, FGF15/19 is now recognized as a transversal metabolic coordinator at the crossroads of the gut, liver, brain and white adipose tissue. Dysregulation of FGF15/19 signalling may contribute to the pathogenesis of several diseases affecting the gut–liver axis and to metabolic diseases. Here, we provide an overview of current knowledge of the physiological roles of the enterokine FGF15/19 and highlight commonalities and differences between the two orthologues. We also discuss the putative therapeutic potential in areas of unmet medical need—such has cholestatic liver diseases and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis, for which FGF19 is being tested in ongoing clinical trials—as well as the possibility of using FGF19 for the treatment of obesity and type II diabetes.

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R.M.G. performed bibliographic searching and wrote the manuscript; A.M. wrote the manuscript.

Correspondence to Antonio Moschetta.

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Competing interests

A.M. has received scientific grants from NGM Biopharmaceuticals (San Diego, CA, USA), which developed FGF19 analogues for the treatment of hepatic diseases during the years 2014–2016. R.M.G. declares no conflicts of interest.

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Fig. 1: Timeline of major discoveries in FGF15/19 identification and biological functions.
Fig. 2: FGF15/19 production and hepatic metabolic effects.
Fig. 3: Metabolic control and receptor specificity of the enterokine FGF15/19.