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Photoperiodic regulation of FGF21 production in the Siberian hamster

Samms, Ricardo J.; Fowler, Maxine J.; Cooper, Scott; Emmerson, Paul; Coskun, Tamer; Adams, Andrew C.; Kharitonenkov, Alexei; Tsintzas, Kostas; Ebling, Francis J.P.


Ricardo J. Samms

Maxine J. Fowler

Scott Cooper

Paul Emmerson

Tamer Coskun

Andrew C. Adams

Alexei Kharitonenkov

Francis J.P. Ebling


FGF21 is an endocrine member of the fibroblast growth factor superfamily that has been shown to play an important role in the physiological response to nutrient deprivation. Food restriction enhances hepatic FGF21 production, which serves to engage an integrated response to energy deficit. Specifically, elevated FGF21 levels lead to reduced gluconeogenesis and increased hepatic ketogenesis. However, circulating FGF21 concentrations also paradoxically rise in states of metabolic dysfunction such as obesity. Furthermore, multiple peripheral tissues also produce FGF21 in addition to the liver, raising questions as to its endocrine and paracrine roles in the control of energy metabolism. The objectives of this study were to measure plasma FGF21 concentrations in the Siberian hamster, a rodent which undergoes a seasonal cycle of fattening and body weight gain in the long days (LD) of summer, followed by reduction of appetite and fat catabolism in the short days (SD) of winter. Groups of adult male hamsters were raised in long days, and then exposed to SD for up to 12 weeks. Chronic exposure of LD animals to SD led to a significant increase in circulating FGF21 concentrations. This elevation of circulating FGF21 was preceded by an increase in liver FGF21 protein production evident as early as 4 weeks of exposure to SD. FGF21 protein abundance was also increased significantly in interscapular brown adipose tissue, with a positive correlation between plasma levels of FGF21 and BAT protein abundance throughout the experimental period. Epididymal white adipose tissue and skeletal muscle (gastrocnemius) also produced FGF21, but levels did not change in response to a change in photoperiod. In summary, a natural programmed state of fat catabolism was associated with increased FGF21 production in the liver and BAT, consistent with the view that FGF21 has a role in adapting hamsters to the hypophagic winter state.


Samms, R. J., Fowler, M. J., Cooper, S., Emmerson, P., Coskun, T., Adams, A. C., …Ebling, F. J. (2014). Photoperiodic regulation of FGF21 production in the Siberian hamster. Hormones and Behavior, 66(1), 180-185.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date Jun 5, 2014
Publication Date 2014-06
Deposit Date Jun 23, 2016
Publicly Available Date Jun 23, 2016
Journal Hormones and Behavior
Print ISSN 0018-506X
Electronic ISSN 1095-6867
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 66
Issue 1
Pages 180-185
Keywords Appetite, Metabolic rate, Energy expenditure, Photoperiod
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Copyright Statement Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address:
Additional Information This article is maintained by: Elsevier; Article Title: Photoperiodic regulation of FGF21 production in the Siberian hamster; Journal Title: Hormones and Behavior; CrossRef DOI link to publisher maintained version:; Content Type: article; Copyright: Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


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Copyright Statement
Copyright information regarding this work can be found at the following address:

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