Adipocyte fatty acid-binding protein is associated with markers of obesity, but is an unlikely link between obesity, insulin resistance, and hyperandrogenism in polycystic ovary syndrome women

Matthias Möhlig, Martin O Weickert, Elham Ghadamgadai, Andrea Machlitt, Bettina Pfüller, Ayman M Arafat, Andreas F H Pfeiffer, Christof Schöfl
European Journal of Endocrinology 2007, 157 (2): 195-200

OBJECTIVE: Many polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) women suffer from adiposity and insulin resistance (IR), which play an important role in the development and maintenance of PCOS. Adipocyte fatty acid-binding protein (A-FABP) is mainly expressed in adipocytes, and circulating A-FABP has been associated with markers of obesity and IR. Thus, as observed with other adipose tissue derived factors, secreted A-FABP might be involved in the pathogenesis of obesity-associated disorders such as PCOS.

DESIGN: Plasma A-FABP concentrations were measured in 102 non-diabetic PCOS women, and associations with markers of obesity, IR, inflammation, and hyperandrogenism were investigated by correlation and multiple linear regression analyses. The effect of lifestyle intervention on A-FABP was studied in a second cohort of 17 obese PCOS women.

RESULTS: A-FABP correlated with body mass index (BMI; R = 0.694, P < 0.001), dual-energy X-ray-absorptiometry (DEXA) fat mass (R = 0.729, P < 0.001), DEXA lean body mass (R = 0.399, P = 0.001), HOMA %S (R = -0.435, P < 0.001), hsCRP (R = 0.355, P = 0.001), and free testosterone (fT; R = 0.230, P = 0.02). Adjusted for age, smoking, and glucose metabolism the association of A-FABP with HOMA %S was still significant (P < 0.001), whereas the associations with fT (P = 0.09) and hsCRP (P = 0.25) were not. Inclusion of BMI into the model abolished the impact of A-FABP on HOMA %S. In BMI-matched PCOS women (n = 20 pairs), neither HOMA %S (P = 0.3) nor fT (P = 0.6) were different despite different A-FABP levels (P < 0.001), and in 17 obese PCOS women undergoing a lifestyle intervention, changes in IR were not paralleled by changes in A-FABP.

CONCLUSIONS: Circulating A-FABP was correlated with markers of obesity, but had no major impact on IR, inflammation, or hyperandrogenemia in PCOS women.

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