The Chicago Journal

FGF21 shots in mice might be a solution to sobering up faster

Image Commercially Licensed from: DepositPhotos
Image Commercially Licensed from: DepositPhotos

FGF21While some people can drink a few bottles of beer without becoming inebriated, others are not so lucky.

Intoxicated people are frequently advised to wait for sobriety to take effect.

Now, new studies have emerged that may lead to a speedier sobering up than before.

The study

In the March issue of 7 Cell Metabolism, researchers described injecting drunk mice with a natural hormone.

The treatment prompted the mice to awaken immediately.

According to the paper, the mice were given an injection of FGF21, a hormone generated by the liver.

The injection shook the mice out of their drunken coma twice as fast as the group that did not receive the shot.

The discoveries, according to molecular endocrinologist David Mangelsdorf, might be game changers in the treatment of alcohol toxicity.

Alcohol poisoning 

When there is too much alcohol in the bloodstream near the brain, it causes alcohol poisoning or overdose.

Multiple life-sustaining systems, such as breathing, heart rate, and temperature regulation, are frequently disabled.

The following are some of the symptoms of an alcohol overdose:

  • Mental confusion
  • Difficulty staying conscious
  • Vomiting
  • Seizure
  • Trouble breathing
  • Slow heart rate
  • Clammy skin
  • Dulled response leading to no gag reflexes that prevent choking
  • Extremely low body temperature

Alcohol poisoning has the possibility of triggering permanent brain damage or death.

The shot

FGF21’s sobering effect is not the first time the hormone has been linked to alcohol use.

Previously, scientists proved that when alcohol enters the bloodstream, the liver produces the hormone.

Despite the fact that FGF21 does not break down alcohol, researchers determined that the hormones play a vital function in protecting the liver from the harmful effects of alcohol.

It also dampens the urge to keep drinking in mice and monkeys.

Read also: Anxiety can come from the heart, a mice study found

The research

David Mangelsdorf of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and his colleagues were intrigued in how FGF21 affects alcohol recovery based on the findings.

Mangelsdorf and his colleagues injected mice with enough alcohol to knock them out and then timed how long it took them to wake up.

Animals that had been genetically engineered to be unable to produce FGF21 slept for an hour and a half longer than normal mice.

Meanwhile, the usual mice were provided with a second dosage of FGF21 to help them wake up even faster (twice as quickly) than the mice treated.

Inebriated mice injected with FGF31 were able to keep balanced longer than the others when placed on a gently spinning platform.


FGF21, according to the researchers, may help mice wake up by activating nerve cells in a brain area that promotes alertness.

If the hormone works similarly in people, Mangeldorf believes it may be used to revive persons who have been poisoned by alcohol.

With the possibility of unintentionally choking, the talent might be incredibly beneficial.

Furthermore, doctors often wait for those who have been poisoned by alcohol to awaken before addressing their symptoms.

“There is no drug for treating alcohol poisoning,” said Mangelsdorf.

He noted that having a drug to help people wake up would be a significant step forward in emergency room therapy.

He cited Narcan, a medication that aids patients in regaining consciousness following an opioid overdose.

Past attempts

Beforehand, researchers discovered strategies to sober up mice.

Despite its efficacy, the regimen did not have the same effect on everybody.

According to David Mangelsdorf, FGF21 may be a different tale.

He cited a prior study that focused on the hormone in monkeys, which are more human-like than mice.

Drugs derived from FGF21 would not need to be isolated to treat alcohol toxicity.

According to Lorenzo Leggio, a physical scientist at the National Institutes of Health in Baltimore, researchers seek to use the hormone to treat liver disease and alcohol addiction.

He feels, however, that the study is a critical step toward understanding FGF21 and developing innovative therapeutics for alcoholism and other illnesses.