A-FABP—A Biomarker Associated With the Metabolic Syndrome and/or an Indicator of Weight Change?




Objective: Adipocyte fatty acid-binding protein (A-FABP) is a plasma biomarker recently associated with the metabolic syndrome. The aim of these studies was to investigate changes of A-FABP during profound weight loss induced by laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding (LAGB).

Methods and Procedures: In study one, 29 severely obese female subjects were examined before and 1 year after surgical treatment. A subgroup of 10 patients was investigated in 3-month intervals. Metabolic parameters were determined using standard methods, and A-FABP was detected using a commercially available enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.

Results: Mean weight loss after 1 year was 24.9 kg (P < 0.001), mainly due to a decrease in fat mass. Metabolic parameters improved substantially. However, serum A-FABP remained stable. In study two, a subgroup of 10 patients was examined quarterly to determine the time course of A-FABP changes. Quarterly measurements of serum A-FABP were significantly higher than baseline levels with the highest A-FABP value after the first 3 months, where patients had highest weight loss.

Discussion: Our results in study one show that A-FABP serum levels are positively associated with body weight and fat mass. However, 1 year after pronounced weight loss A-FABP levels remained unchanged. In study two, time course analyses revealed maximum increase of serum A-FABP in parallel to highest weight loss, which allows to suppose that A-FABP is not only a biomarker of the metabolic syndrome in the steady state, but also a marker of weight changes in dynamic situations.