What Relation between Retinol Binding Protein 4, Insulin Resistance, and Diabetes?


WHO defines obesity as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health. The obese person is the one with a BMI of 30 or more, to distinguish it from an overweight person who has a BMI between 25 and 30. A person becomes obese when there isn’t balance between calories he eats and what he uses.

Obesity has become an alarming problem for world health as 2.8 million people die each year due to overweight and obesity. The latter increases the risk of getting different diseases such as heart disease, certain types of cancer, arthritis, diabetes and others. To evaluate obesity’s effects in relation with these diseases it causes, a number of scientific studies have assessed this relation in quest of finding the appropriate answers.

In this context, a new published study which is conducted by a group of researchers from Physiology Department, Medical Research Institute, Alexandria University, Egypt, has worked on determining relationship between Retinol Binding Protein 4 (RBP4) and insulin resistance, something that has direct link with diabetes.

Researchers of the study started from the assumption that “Retinol binding protein (4 RBP4) attracted a considerable attention as an adipokine that provides a possible link between expression of adipose GLUT4 in adipocytes and insulin resistance.”

Based on results, scientists showed that “RBP4 levels were elevated in overweight and obese subjects and correlated positively with BMI.” The study made reference to previous studies that found that there’s a relation between RBP4 and the insulin sensitivity. “Changes in RBP4 have systemic effects on insulin sensitivity and glucose homeostasis in humans” researchers added. And this has direct effects on glucose metabolism.

To carry their study, researchers divided the participants into 3 groups. After analyzing their collected data they noticed that “2hr (OGTT) glucose and lipid profile (total cholesterol, T.G, and LDL-C) were all significantly higher in overweight and obese groups as compared to normal group.”

Researchers said that “it is possible that an increased serum RBP4 prevents the transthyretin from exerting its β-cell stimulus secretion effects. In addition, RBP4 might have a direct role in the progression of lipogenesis, as it was found that RBP4 increased the expression of the gene encoding fatty acid synthase in adipose tissue.”

After making different data analysis, researchers come to a conclusion that “serum RBP4 levels were elevated in overweight and obese men as compared with normal weight subjects and were associated with increased E2/T ratio and HOMA-IR in obese men. In addition, direct effect of T and or E2 on RBP4 expression from liver or adipose tissue could not be excluded. Finally, the disturbance in E2/T ratio seems to affect RBP4 serum levels and insulin sensitivity in obese me.”

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