We aimed to analyze the retinol binding protein-4 (RBP4) messenger RNA (mRNA) expression profiles in adipose tissues and liver of morbidly obese (MO) women with or without nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and to study the relationships with other pro- and anti-inflammatory adipokines in vivo and in vitro.
Design and Methods:
We performed a cross-sectional analysis of subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT), visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and liver samples from four lean and 45 MO women with or without NAFLD by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and real-time reverse transcription-PCR. We also studied RBP4 expression in HepG2 hepatocytes under various inflammatory stimuli.
Circulating RBP4 levels were higher in MO women, and specifically, in MO subjects with NAFLD compared with normal liver controls (lean and MO). RBP4 liver expression was higher in nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH)-moderate/severe than in NASHmild. Overall RBP4 gene expression was higher in liver than in adipose tissues. Among them, the higher expression corresponded to SAT. VAT expression was lower in the MO cohort. In HepG2, RBP4 mRNA expression was reduced by tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and increased by adiponectin treatment.
The results obtained in MO women with NAFLD, brings up the use of RBP4 and other adipokines as a panel of noninvasive molecular biomarkers when NAFLD is suspected. Further studies are needed with other obesity groups.