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Open Access Open Badges Original investigation

Additive relationship between serum fibroblast growth factor 21 level and coronary artery disease

Yun Shen1, Xiaojing Ma1, Jian Zhou1, Xiaoping Pan1, Yaping Hao1, Mi Zhou1, Zhigang Lu2, Meifang Gao2, Yuqian Bao1* and Weiping Jia1

  • * Corresponding author: Yuqian Bao

  • † Equal contributors

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Shanghai Jiao Tong University Affiliated Sixth People’s Hospital, Shanghai Key Laboratory of Diabetes Mellitus, Shanghai Diabetes Institute, Shanghai, China

2 Department of Cardiology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University Affiliated Sixth People’s Hospital, Shanghai, China

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Cardiovascular Diabetology 2013, 12:124  doi:10.1186/1475-2840-12-124

Published: 28 August 2013



Expression and activity of the fibroblast growth factor (FGF) 21 hormone-like protein are associated with development of several metabolic disorders. This study was designed to investigate whether serum FGF21 level was also associated with the metabolic syndrome-related cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis, and its clinical features in a Chinese cohort.


Two-hundred-and-fifty-three subjects visiting the Cardiology Department (Sixth People's Hospital affiliated to Shanghai JiaoTong University) were examined by coronary arteriography (to diagnose coronary artery disease (CAD)) and hepatic ultrasonography (to diagnose non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)). Serum FGF21 level was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and analyzed for correlation to subject and clinical characteristics. The independent factors of CAD were determined by multivariate logistic regression analysis.


Subjects with NAFLD showed significantly higher serum FGF21 than those without NAFLD (388.0 pg/mL (253.0-655.4) vs. 273.3 pg/mL (164.9-383.7), P < 0.01). Subjects with CAD showed significantly higher serum FGF21, regardless of NAFLD diagnosis (P < 0.05). Serum FGF21 level significantly elevated with the increasing number of metabolic disorders (P for trend < 0.01). After adjustment of age, sex, and BMI, FGF21 was positively correlated with total cholesterol (P < 0.05) and triglyceride (P < 0.01). FGF21 was identified as an independent factor of CAD (odds ratio = 2.984, 95% confidence interval: 1.014-8.786, P < 0.05).


Increased level of serum FGF21 is associated with NAFLD, metabolic disorders and CAD.

Fibroblast growth factor 21; Coronary artery disease; Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; Metabolic syndrome