Purpose: Fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF21) is a crucial metabolic regulator, with multiple favorable effects on glucose homeo-stasis and lipid metabolism. Since serum FGF21 level has been implicated as a potential marker for the early identification of metabolic syndrome (MetS), we investigated the association between serum FGF21 level and the development of MetS in a population-based prospective study. Materials and Methods: We conducted a prospective study of 221 randomly sampled adults without MetS from a general population-based cohort study who were examined from 2005–2008 (baseline) and from 2008–2011 (follow-up). Baseline serum FGF21 levels were analyzed using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Results: During the average 2.8-year follow-up period, 82 participants (36.6%) developed new-onset MetS. Serum FGF21 levels were significantly higher in patients with new-onset MetS than in those without MetS (209.56±226.80 vs. 110.09±81.10, p<0.01). In multivariate adjusted models, the odds for MetS development were greater in patients with serum FGF21 levels in the highest quartile, compared to those in the lowest quartile (3.84, 95% confidence interval: 1.59–9.28). Conclusion: Serum FGF21 level was an independent predictor for new-onset MetS in a population-based prospective study.
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