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Sex-specific association between fibroblast growth factor 21 and type 2 diabetes: a nested case-control study in Singapore Chinese men and women.


Fibroblast growth factor 21 (FGF-21) is mainly secreted by liver and has been reported to be involved in the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes. Some prospective studies have shown a positive association between FGF-21 and diabetes risk. However, no study has examined whether the association differed by sex, which has been reported between FGF-21 and atherosclerosis. Therefore, we prospectively evaluated the sex-specific association between FGF-21 and diabetes in a Chinese population.Serum FGF-21 concentration was measured in a case-control study comprising of 251 incident diabetes cases and 251 age-sex-matched controls nested within a prospective population-based cohort, the Singapore Chinese Health Study. At blood collection between 1999 and 2004, participants were free of diagnosed diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Incident self-reported diabetes cases were identified at follow-up II interview (2006-2010). Odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) were calculated using multivariable logistic regression models.After adjustment for risk biomarkers of diabetes including lipids, liver enzymes and inflammatory marker, the OR of type 2 diabetes with per one unit increment in log FGF-21 concentration was 1.16 (95% CI 0.90-1.50). Significant interaction was found with sex (P-interaction = 0.029): the OR (95% CI) was 1.50 (1.00-2.25) in women and 0.89 (0.52-1.53) in men.Higher serum FGF-21 level was associated with an increased risk of diabetes in Chinese women but not in men. The sex difference in the association between FGF-21 and diabetes risk deserves further investigation and replication in other populations.