Posted on Jan. 18, 2016, 6 a.m. in Longevity Immune System Weight and Obesity

FGF21 was shown to extend the life of mice in a study conducted at the Yale School of Medicine.

Promising research points to a hormone produced by the liver, that manages the thymus gland and may promote longevity, weight loss, and provide a boost to the immune system. Fiborblast Growth Hormone, known as Factor 21 or FGF21, was found to extend the life of mice by 40%, by researchers at the Yale School of Medicine. How does this apply to the human condition? There is the potential that FGF21 could also help boost the immune system of aging humans.

The thymus is a lymphoid organ that functions as part of the immune system. It develops T cells, otherwise known as the agents that help our body fight infection. This is an important part of maintaining an optimal immune system. However, with age the lymphoid loses most of its fat and its ability to produce these very same T cells needed for a healthy immune system. Older patients tend to have weakened immune systems as a direct result of Lower T cells. With lower T cell levels, and subsequent weakened immune systems with age, the result is higher susceptibility to infections than in the younger population.

FGF21 is also a known endocrine hormone. Endocrine Hormones assist in the body’s management system for metabolism, effecting weight loss and glucose levels. This hormone has been linked to burning brown fat, also know as “good fat,” which contributes to the anti-obesity processes. Research has also indicated that Factor 21 has the ability to reduce, or suppress appetite. It is therefore thought that Factor 21 may have the ability to protect against obesity. There are additional studies that suggest endocrine hormones may even protect the cardiovascular system.

The Yale researchers examined mice who had high levels of FGF21. After toying with the hormone to remove its function from healthy mice, the level dropped. Lower levels of this hormone resulted in a decrease in fat and function of the thymus. On the other hand, an increase in the hormone led to protection from age-related thymus degeneration and boosted the immune system.


Source: Youm Y, Horvath T, Mangelsdorf D, Kliewer S, Dixit V. Prolongevity
hormone FGF21 protects against immune senescence by delaying age-related
thymic involution