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Higher serum levels of fibroblast growth factor 21 in old patients with cachexia

Franz, Kristina, Ost, Mario, Otten, Lindsey, Herpich, Catrin, Coleman, Verena, Endres, Anne-Sophie, Klaus, Susanne, Müller-Werdan, Ursula, Norman, Kristina
Nutrition 2019 v.63-64 pp. 81-86
animal models, anorexia, blood serum, cachexia, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, fasting, fibroblast growth factors, fibroblasts, glucose, humans, inflammation, lipid metabolism, nutrition, patients, questionnaires, regression analysis, weight loss
Fibroblast growth factor (FGF)21 is promptly induced by short fasting in animal models to regulate glucose and fat metabolism. Data on FGF21 in humans are inconsistent and FGF21 has not yet been investigated in old patients with cachexia, a complex syndrome characterized by inflammation and weight loss. The aim of this study was to explore the association of FGF21 with cachexia in old patients compared with their healthy counterparts.Serum FGF21 and its inactivating enzyme fibroblast activation protein (FAP)-α were measured with enzyme-linked immunoassays. Cachexia was defined as ≥5% weight loss in the previous 3 mo and concurrent anorexia (Council on Nutrition appetite questionnaire).We included 103 patients with and without cachexia (76.9 ± 5.2 y of age) and 56 healthy controls (72.9 ± 5.9 y of age). Cachexia was present in 16.5% of patients. These patients had significantly higher total FGF21 levels than controls (952.1 ± 821.3 versus 525.2 ± 560.3 pg/mL; P = 0.012) and the lowest FGF21 levels (293.3 ± 150.9 pg/mL) were found in the control group (global P < 0.001). Although FAP-α did not differ between the three groups (global P = 0.082), bioactive FGF21 was significantly higher in patients with cachexia (global P = 0.002). Risk factor-adjusted regression analyses revealed a significant association between cachexia and total (β = 649.745 pg/mL; P < 0.001) and bioactive FGF21 (β = 393.200 pg/mL; P <0.001), independent of sex, age, and body mass index.Patients with cachexia exhibited the highest FGF21 levels. Clarification is needed to determine whether this is an adaptive response to nutrient deprivation in disease-related cachexia or whether the increased FGF21 values contribute to the catabolic state.