The protein encoded by this gene is a member of the fibroblast growth factor (FGF) family. FGF family members possess broad mitogenic and cell survival activities, and are involved in a variety of biological processes, including embryonic development, cell growth, morphogenesis, tissue repair, tumor growth, and invasion. It has been shown in vitro that this protein is able to induce neurite outgrowth in PC12 cells. FGF18 signals through fibroblast growth factor receptor FGFR3 to promote chondrogenesis  and has been shown to cause thickening of cartilage in a murine model of osteoarthritis, and the recombinant version of it (sprifermin) will soon enter trials as a potential treatment for osteoarthritis. Studies of the similar proteins in mouse and chick suggested that this protein is a pleiotropic growth factor that stimulates proliferation in a number of tissues, most notably the liver and small intestine. Knockout studies of the similar gene in mice implied the role of this protein in regulating proliferation and differentiation of midline cerebellar structures.
^Ohbayashi N, Hoshikawa M, Kimura S, Yamasaki M, Fukui S, Itoh N (Aug 1998). "Structure and expression of the mRNA encoding a novel fibroblast growth factor, FGF-18". J Biol Chem. 273 (29): 18161–4. doi:10.1074/jbc.273.29.18161. PMID9660775.
^Davidson, D.; Blanc, A.; Filion, D.; Wang, H.; Plut, P.; Pfeffer, G.; Buschmann, M. D.; Henderson, J. E. (2005). "Fibroblast Growth Factor (FGF) 18 Signals through FGF Receptor 3 to Promote Chondrogenesis". Journal of Biological Chemistry. 280 (21): 20509–20515. doi:10.1074/jbc.M410148200. PMID15781473.
^Moore, E.; Bendele, A.; Thompson, D.; Littau, A.; Waggie, K.; Reardon, B.; Ellsworth, J. (2005). "Fibroblast growth factor-18 stimulates chondrogenesis and cartilage repair in a rat model of injury-induced osteoarthritis". Osteoarthritis and Cartilage. 13 (7): 623–631. doi:10.1016/j.joca.2005.03.003. PMID15896984.
Haque T, Nakada S, Hamdy RC (2007). "A review of FGF18: Its expression, signaling pathways and possible functions during embryogenesis and post-natal development". Histol. Histopathol. 22 (1): 97–105. PMID17128416.
Hu MC, Wang YP, Qiu WR (1999). "Human fibroblast growth factor-18 stimulates fibroblast cell proliferation and is mapped to chromosome 14p11". Oncogene. 18 (16): 2635–42. doi:10.1038/sj.onc.1202616. PMID10353607.
Xu J, Liu Z, Ornitz DM (2000). "Temporal and spatial gradients of Fgf8 and Fgf17 regulate proliferation and differentiation of midline cerebellar structures". Development. 127 (9): 1833–43. PMID10751172.
Whitmore TE, Maurer MF, Sexson S, et al. (2001). "Assignment of fibroblast growth factor 18 (FGF18) to human chromosome 5q34 by use of radiation hybrid mapping and fluorescence in situ hybridization". Cytogenet. Cell Genet. 90 (3–4): 231–3. doi:10.1159/000056775. PMID11124520.
Cormier S, Leroy C, Delezoide AL, Silve C (2005). "Expression of fibroblast growth factors 18 and 23 during human embryonic and fetal development". Gene Expr. Patterns. 5 (4): 569–73. doi:10.1016/j.modgep.2004.10.008. PMID15749088.
Antoine M, Wirz W, Tag CG, et al. (2005). "Expression pattern of fibroblast growth factors (FGFs), their receptors and antagonists in primary endothelial cells and vascular smooth muscle cells". Growth Factors. 23 (2): 87–95. doi:10.1080/08977190500096004. PMID16019430.
Antoine M, Wirz W, Tag CG, et al. (2006). "Fibroblast growth factor 16 and 18 are expressed in human cardiovascular tissues and induce on endothelial cells migration but not proliferation". Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 346 (1): 224–33. doi:10.1016/j.bbrc.2006.05.105. PMID16756958.