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Fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) is a crucial metabolic regulator with multiple favorable effects on glucose homeostasis and lipid metabolism. Since serum FGF21 level has been implicated as a potential marker for the early identification of metabolic syndrome (MetS), we investigated the association between serum FGF21 level and the development of MetS in a population-based prospective study.
We conducted a prospective study of 221 randomly sampled adults without MetS from a general population-based cohort study who were examined from 2005–2008 (baseline) and also from 2008–2011 (follow-up). Baseline serum FGF21 levels were analyzed using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
During the average 2.8-year follow-up period, 82 participants (36.6%) developed new-onset MetS. Serum FGF21 levels were significantly higher in patients with new-onset MetS compared to those without MetS (209.56 ± 226.80 vs. 110.09 ± 81.10, p<0.001). Multivariate adjusted models showed the odds for MetS development were more likely in patients with serum FGF21 levels in the highest quartile compared to those in the lowest quartile (3.84, 95% confidence interval: 1.59–9.28).
Serum FGF21 level was an independent predictor for new-onset MetS in a population-based prospective study.