FGF23 and its role in X-linked hypophosphatemia-related morbidity

Signe Sparre Beck-Nielsen, Zulf Mughal, Dieter Haffner, Ola Nilsson, Elena Levtchenko, Gema Ariceta, Carmen De Lucas Collantes, Dirk Schnabel, Ravi Jandhyala, Outi Mäkitie

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© 2019 The Author(s). Background: X-linked hypophosphatemia (XLH) is an inherited disease of phosphate metabolism in which inactivating mutations of the Phosphate Regulating Endopeptidase Homolog, X-Linked (PHEX) gene lead to local and systemic effects including impaired growth, rickets, osteomalacia, bone abnormalities, bone pain, spontaneous dental abscesses, hearing difficulties, enthesopathy, osteoarthritis, and muscular dysfunction. Patients with XLH present with elevated levels of fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23), which is thought to mediate many of the aforementioned manifestations of the disease. Elevated FGF23 has also been observed in many other diseases of hypophosphatemia, and a range of animal models have been developed to study these diseases, yet the role of FGF23 in the pathophysiology of XLH is incompletely understood. Methods: The role of FGF23 in the pathophysiology of XLH is here reviewed by describing what is known about phenotypes associated with various PHEX mutations, animal models of XLH, and non-nutritional diseases of hypophosphatemia, and by presenting molecular pathways that have been proposed to contribute to manifestations of XLH. Results: The pathophysiology of XLH is complex, involving a range of molecular pathways that variously contribute to different manifestations of the disease. Hypophosphatemia due to elevated FGF23 is the most obvious contributor, however localised fluctuations in tissue non-specific alkaline phosphatase (TNAP), pyrophosphate, calcitriol and direct effects of FGF23 have been observed to be associated with certain manifestations. Conclusions: By describing what is known about these pathways, this review highlights key areas for future research that would contribute to the understanding and clinical treatment of non-nutritional diseases of hypophosphatemia, particularly XLH.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1014
JournalOrphanet Journal of Rare Diseases
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 26 Feb 2019


  • X-linked hypophosphatemia (XLH)
  • bone dysplasia
  • dental abscess
  • ectopic calcification
  • fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23)
  • hearing impairment
  • hypophosphatemia
  • muscle weakness
  • osteomalacia
  • phosphate regulating endopeptidase homolog, X-linked (PHEX)
  • rickets
  • vitamin D deficiency


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