Maternal Serum Fatty Acid Binding Protein 4 (FABP4) and the Development of Preeclampsia

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Serum fatty acid binding protein 4 (FABP4) is associated with components of the metabolic syndrome in nonpregnant individuals, including dyslipidemia and insulin resistance. Preeclampsia shares many features with the metabolic syndrome, but the relationship between early pregnancy serum FABP4 levels and the development of preeclampsia is unknown.


The aim of the study was to test the hypothesis that FABP4 is elevated in women who develop preeclampsia before the onset of disease.

Study Design:

This was a nested case-control study within a larger prospective cohort of healthy women with singleton gestations. Cases included 22 women who developed preeclampsia, and a random sample of 72 unmatched controls delivered without preeclampsia was identified. Maternal serum FABP4 was measured at less than 13 wk gestation and 24–28 wk gestation, which was before the onset of preeclampsia in all patients.

Main Outcome Measures:

The main outcome measure was preeclampsia (new-onset gestational hypertension and proteinuria for the first time after 20 wk gestation).


Maternal serum FABP4 concentrations were higher in women who ultimately developed preeclampsia both at 8–13 wk (20.4 ± 12.3 vs. 10.1 ± 4.7 ng/ml; P < 0.01) and at 24–28 wk (20.7 ± 11.7 vs. 9.9 ± 4.5 ng/ml; P < 0.01). After controlling for first trimester body mass index, systolic blood pressure, and nulliparity, FABP4 was associated with the development of preeclampsia (adjusted odds ratio, 1.2; 95% confidence interval, 1.1–1.3; P < 0.01).


Maternal serum FABP4 levels are elevated before the clinical onset of preeclampsia, and this increase occurs independently of maternal body mass index.

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