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Fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) has a key role in metabolism, obesity and diabetes. An FGF21 analogue reduces body weight and ameliorates dyslipidaemia in man. We previously reported association of elevated FGF21 blood level with carotid atherosclerosis. We therefore investigated its relationship with hypertension.
We measured FGF21 in the plasma of 1373 participants (608 men, 765 women; mean age±SD, 43±11 years) of the Hong Kong Cardiovascular Risk Factor Prevalence Study-2 (CRISPS2) without hypertension at baseline using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (Antibody & Immunoassay Services, University of Hong Kong). FGF21 level was analysed for relationship with systolic and diastolic blood pressure (BP) at baseline and new-onset hypertension at follow-up.
Plasma FGF21 level (mean±SE) was 194.8±7.6 and 191.6±8.6 pg/ml in men and women respectively. Log FGF21 level correlated significantly (p<0.001) with systolic BP (r=0.21) and diastolic BP (r=0.14) at baseline. After controlling for sex, age and BMI, log FGF21 remained related to systolic (r=0.09, p=0.003) and diastolic (r=0.077, p=0.01) BP. After a median of 10 years, 237 of 1111 participants who returned for follow-up had developed new-onset hypertension. The FGF21 level was higher in participants who developed hypertension (217.0±14.2 pg/ml) compared to those who did not (176.7±5.8 pg/ml, p=0.003).
FGF21 blood level is related to systolic and diastolic BP in untreated normotensive people, and predicts the risk of developing hypertension in the next 10 years.
Supported by Research Grants Council of Hong Kong Collaborative Research Fund 02/12R.