If you’ve never heard about fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21), there’s no use getting upset. It’s the name for a hormone secreted by the liver that is essential for low-protein diets that can benefit the lifespan of rodents and some smaller organisms.
According to ScienceAlert.com, a new study has found FGF21 in mice. Learning about the hormone’s amazing benefit for the lifespan isn’t very surprising. Previous studies have shown that FGF21 is able to improve the energy consumption of the little rodents while reducing body weight.
In their study paper, the researchers wrote:
Indeed, mice that are FGF21 deficient are not only resistant to the health benefits effects of PR, but they also exhibit early-onset weight loss, increased frailty, and reduced lifespan when fed a low protein diet. Collectively, these data represent a suggest that FGF21 is essential for the pro-longevity effects of PR and highlight the power of a single endocrine hormone to coordinate metabolic and behavioral responses that improve metabolism and longevity.
What’s perhaps even more interesting is that the same FGF21 hormone is also present in humans. But at this point, scientists can’t tell if the hormone’s role is the same in our species as it is in mice.
Researchers also discovered that the natural lifespan of male mice was reduced when they were fed a diet low on proteins after the FGF21 gene was removed. Usually, mice live for about 12 months outdoors.
Christopher Morrison, a neuroscientist from Louisiana State University, explained:
Our data suggest that FGF21 talks to the brain, and that without this signal the mouse doesn’t ‘know’ that it is eating a low-protein diet. As a result, the mouse fails to adaptively change its metabolism or feeding behavior.
The new study was published in Nature Communications.