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01-08-2010 | Diabetes | Article

FABP4 implicated in diabetic endothelial dysfunction


Free abstract

MedWire News: Circulating levels of adipocyte fatty acid-binding protein (FABP4) are linked with endothelial dysfunction in patients with Type 2 diabetes, a study suggests.

Plasma FABP4 levels were the only determinant of endothelial dysfunction in Type 2 diabetes on multivariate analysis.

Lluís Masana (Saint Joan University Hospital, Reus, Spain) and co-workers say: "This finding could reflect a direct impact of FABP4 on vascular function in this group of patients."

The researchers also found a significant correlation between FABP4 and oxidized low-density lipoprotein antibodies in patients with Type 2 diabetes.

"These results suggest that FABP4 may be related to lipid oxidation, which is one of the main pathophysiological mechanisms leading to endothelial dysfunction," they say.

FABP4 is one of the best characterized intracellular lipid transport proteins and is expressed in adipocytes, macrophages, and microvascular endothelial cells, explain Masana and colleagues.

It appears to function primarily as a cytoplasmic chaperone of long-chain fatty-acids, transporting them to other subcellular compartments for metabolism, secretion, or translocation to the nucleus to regulate the function of transcription factors.

The team examined the relationship between plasma FABP4 levels and endothelial function in 257 men and women, aged 22 to 80 years, with no evidence of cardiovascular disease but with Type 2 diabetes or at intermediate global cardiovascular risk.

FABP4 levels tended to be higher in the 105 patients with Type 2 diabetes than in the 152 participants without this condition, at 29.22 versus 25.30 ng/ml, although the difference was not statistically significant.

However, FABP4 was significantly negatively associated with endothelial function, as assessed from reactive hyperemia index, in patients with Type 2 diabetes.

Furthermore, a stepwise, multivariate linear regression model revealed FABP4 to be a predictor of reactive hyperemia index in participants with Type 2 diabetes.

Reporting in the journal Atherosclerosis, the researchers say: "If a causal relationship can be established, FABP4 plasma concentrations could be a therapeutic target for the prevention of vascular damage in Type 2 diabetes patients."

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

By Anita Wilkinson