Serum Adipocyte Fatty Acid–Binding Protein Levels Are Associated With Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Type 2 Diabetic Patients

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OBJECTIVEAdipocyte fatty acid–binding protein (A-FABP) is a major cytoplasmic protein in adipocytes and macrophages and is closely associated with metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, and atherosclerosis. Here, we investigated whether A-FABP was associated with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in type 2 diabetes.RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODSWe enrolled 181 type 2 diabetic patients. Clinical and biochemical metabolic parameters were measured. The severity of NAFLD was measured by ultrasound. A-FABP, adiponectin, and retinol-binding protein-4 (RBP-4) were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.RESULTSA-FABP levels, defined as more than a moderate degree of fatty liver compared with men, those without metabolic syndrome, and those without NAFLD, were higher in women, patients with metabolic syndrome, and patients with overt NAFLD, respectively. Adiponectin was decreased according to the severity of NAFLD, but RBP-4 showed no difference. Age- and sex-adjusted A-FABP showed positive correlations with BMI, waist-to-hip ratio, waist circumference, triglycerides, γ-glutamyltransferase, fasting insulin, homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), A1C, and C-reactive protein (CRP) but showed negative correlation with HDL cholesterol. The odds ratio (OR) for the risk of overt NAFLD with increasing levels of sex-specific A-FABP was significantly increased (OR 2.90 [95% CI 1.15–7.29] vs. 7.87 [3.20–19.38]). The OR in the highest tertile of A-FABP remained significant after adjustments for BMI, waist circumference, A1C, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, HOMA-IR, CRP, and hepatic enzymes.CONCLUSIONSOur study demonstrates that serum A-FABP is significantly associated with NAFLD in type 2 diabetes, independent of BMI, waist circumference, HOMA-IR, A1C, triglycerides, HDL cholesterol, and CRP.

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