Fibroblast growth factors 19 and 21 in acute liver damage
Currently there are very few pharmacological options available to treat acute liver injury. Because its natural exposure to noxious stimuli the liver has developed a strong endogenous hepatoprotective capacity. Indeed, experimental evidence exposed a variety of endogenous hepatic and systemic responses naturally activated to protect the hepatic parenchyma and to foster liver regeneration, therefore preserving individual’s survival. The fibroblast growth factor (FGF) family encompasses a range of polypeptides with important effects on cellular differentiation, growth survival and metabolic regulation in adult organisms. Among these FGFs, FGF19 and FGF21 are endocrine hormones that profoundly influence systemic metabolism but also exert important hepatoprotective activities. In this review, we revisit the biology of these factors and highlight their potential application for the clinical management of acute liver injury.