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The metabolic responses to 24-h fasting and mild cold exposure in overweight individuals are correlated and accompanied by changes in FGF21 concentration

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posted on 27.04.2020 by Ada Admin, Tim Hollstein, Sascha Heinitz, Takafumi Ando, Theresa L. Rodzevik, Alessio Basolo, Mary Walter, Douglas C. Chang, Jonathan Krakoff, Paolo Piaggi
A greater decrease in 24-h energy expenditure (24EE) during 24h fasting defines a thriftier metabolic phenotype prone to weight gain during overfeeding and resistant to weight loss during caloric restriction. As the thermogenic response to mild cold exposure (COLD) may similarly characterize this human phenotype identified by acute fasting conditions, we analyzed changes in 24EE and sleeping metabolic rate (SLEEP) in a whole-room indirect calorimeter during 24h fasting at thermoneutrality (24°C) and during energy balance both at thermoneutrality (24°C) and mild cold (19°C) in 20 healthy volunteers (80% male, age: 36.6±11.4y, percentage body fat: 34.8±10.5%). Greater decrease in 24EE during fasting (thriftier phenotype) was associated with less increase in 24EE during COLD, i.e. less cold-induced thermogenesis. Greater decreases in plasma fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) after 24h fasting and after COLD were highly correlated and associated with greater decreases in SLEEP in both conditions. We conclude that the metabolic responses to short-term fasting and COLD are associated and mediated by the liver-derived hormone FGF21. Thus, the 24EE response to COLD further identifies the thrifty versus spendthrift phenotype, providing an additional setting to investigate the physiological mechanisms underlying the human metabolic phenotype and characterizing the individual susceptibility to weight change.


This study was supported by the intramural Research Program of the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.



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