Glucagon regulates glucose and lipid metabolism and promotes weight loss. Thus, therapeutics stimulating glucagon receptor (GCGR) signaling are promising for obesity treatment; however, the underlying mechanism(s) have yet to be fully elucidated. We previously identified that hepatic GCGR signaling increases circulating fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21), a potent regulator of energy balance. We reported that mice deficient for liver Fgf21 are partially resistant to GCGR-mediated weight loss, implicating FGF21 as a regulator of glucagon’s weight loss effects. FGF21 signaling requires an obligate coreceptor (β-Klotho, KLB), with expression limited to adipose tissue, liver, pancreas, and brain. We hypothesized that the GCGR-FGF21 system mediates weight loss through a central mechanism. Mice deficient for neuronal Klb exhibited a partial reduction in body weight with chronic GCGR agonism (via IUB288) compared with controls, supporting a role for central FGF21 signaling in GCGR-mediated weight loss. Substantiating these results, mice with central KLB inhibition via a pharmacological KLB antagonist, 1153, also displayed partial weight loss. Central KLB, however, is dispensable for GCGR-mediated improvements in plasma cholesterol and liver triglycerides. Together, these data suggest GCGR agonism mediates part of its weight loss properties through central KLB and has implications for future treatments of obesity and metabolic syndrome.


Shelly R. Nason, Jessica Antipenko, Natalie Presedo, Stephen E. Cunningham, Tanya H. Pierre, Teayoun Kim, Jodi R. Paul, Cassie Holleman, Martin E. Young, Karen L. Gamble, Brian Finan, Richard DiMarchi, Chad S. Hunter, Alexei Kharitonenkov, Kirk M. Habegger


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