Context and objective
Adipokines are involved in the etiopathology of obesity-related disorders. Since the role of adipokine retinol-binding protein-4 (RBP4) in obesity remains uncertain and its relationship with other adipokines and inflammatory markers has not been examined in detail, we investigated the relationships of RBP4 mRNA expression and circulating protein levels with obesity, anthropometric and metabolic variables, as well as with obesity-related inflammatory markers adiponectin and C-reactive protein.
Subjects and methods
One-hundred and twenty-five subjects participated, 36 lean (body mass index (BMI): <25 kg/m2) and 89 obese (overweight/obese; BMI: ≥25<40) whose anthropometric and metabolic variables were assessed. mRNA expression was quantified by real-time PCR in subcutaneous adipose tissue (s.c.-AT) of 46 subjects.
There was a tendency for circulating RBP4 levels to positively correlate with waist circumference (β=0.29, P=0.08; R2=0.08), but there was no significant association with the obesity-related parameters analysed. RBP4 and adiponectin mRNA expression levels were similarly downregulated in the s.c.-AT of obese subjects (0.5-fold); however, RBP4 downregulation did not affect its circulating protein levels. The expression of RBP4 and adiponectin was positively correlated even after controlling for confounding factors (β=0.59, P<0.0001; R2=0.40).
In our population, RBP4 circulating levels were not significantly correlated with obesity-related parameters, although a tendency to correlate with waist circumference suggests a relationship with insulin resistance and other metabolic disorders. In addition, our results suggest that the production of RBP4 by other tissues such as liver, rather than s.c.-AT, may be involved in regulating RBP4 circulating levels.