Skip to main content

19-03-2012 | Cardiometabolic | Article

High FABP4 linked to atherogenic dyslipidemia in women


Free abstract

MedWire News: Elevated levels of adipocyte fatty acid-binding protein (FABP4) are associated with an increased risk for developing atherogenic dyslipidemia (AD) in women, report Spanish researchers.

"FABP4 is a clear marker of [women] who are prone to profound metabolic alterations," say Jordi Salas-Salvadó (Universitat Rovira i Virgili, Reus) and colleagues. Those with high levels will therefore need "closer medical control for the reduction of metabolic and vascular risks," they say.

Previous studies have shown a strong association between AD, characterized by high plasma triglycerides and low high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and obesity. This suggests that adipose tissue-derived molecules could be involved in the process, explain Salas-Salvadó et al in Atherosclerosis.

They therefore investigated the predictive value of baseline FABP4 levels for the development of AD, a key lipid alteration observed in metabolic diseases such as abdominal obesity, the metabolic syndrome, and Type 2 diabetes.

The study involved 578 participants (mean age 67 years) of the PREDIMED (Prevención con Dieta Mediterránea) study who had baseline measures of FABP4 available.

Incident (new-onset) AD was defined as HDL cholesterol below 1.03 mmol/L (39.77 mg/dL) in men and 1.29 mmol/L (49.81 mg/dL) in women, and triglyceride levels of 1.69 mmol/L (149.57 mg/dL) or below at any time during the median 4-year follow-up period.

At baseline, women showed significantly higher FABP4 levels than men (34.4 vs 18.6 µg/L).

A total of 103 participants developed new-onset AD during the study period. Baseline FABP4 levels were associated with AD incidence in the whole group, however, this association was only statistically significant in women.

Each unit increase in baseline FABP4 was associated with a 3% increase in the risk for developing AD in women. Furthermore, women in the highest FABP4 tertile (≥40.1 µg/L) had a 2.54-fold higher risk for developing AD than those in the lowest tertile (≤28.8 µg/L), after adjustment for potential confounding variables.

The authors note that FABP4 is expressed in higher quantities in subcutaneous adipose tissue than in visceral fat. "Women accumulate fat in the subcutaneous adipose tissue, while men tend to store fat in the visceral fat compartment. This fact may account for the differences in FABP4 concentrations," they say.

They conclude: "Elevated plasma FABP4 concentrations should be considered as a potential marker of metabolic derangement, which may predict the development of AD in women."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2012

By Nikki Withers