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Endocrinol Metab (Seoul). 2013 Dec;28(4):283-7. doi: 10.3803/EnM.2013.28.4.283. Epub 2013 Dec 12.

Association of serum adipocyte-specific Fatty Acid binding protein with Fatty liver index as a predictive indicator of nonalcoholic Fatty liver disease.

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  • Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, Kangbuk Samsung Hospital, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.



Adipocyte-specific fatty acid-binding protein (A-FABP) is a cytoplasmic protein expressed in macrophages and adipocytes and it plays a role in insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. Recently, the fatty liver index (FLI) was introduced as an indicator of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). In this study, we aimed to investigate the relationship between baseline serum A-FABP levels and FLI after 4 years in apparently healthy subjects.


A total of 238 subjects without a past history of alcoholism or hepatitis were recruited from a medical check-up program. The NAFLD state was evaluated 4 years later in the same subjects using FLI. Fatty liver disease was diagnosed as diffusely increased echogenicity of the hepatic parenchyma compared to the kidneys, vascular blurring, and deep-echo attenuation. NAFLD was defined as subjects with fatty liver and no history of alcohol consumption (>20 g/day).


Baseline serum A-FABP levels were significantly associated with FLI after adjustment for age and sex (P<0.001). The subjects with higher A-FABP levels had a higher mean FLI (P for trend=0.006). After adjusting for age and sex, serum A-FABP levels at baseline were shown to be significantly associated with FLI as a marker of development of NAFLD after 4 years (odds ratio, 2.68; 95% confidence interval, 1.24 to 5.80 for highest tertile vs. lowest tertile; P=0.012).


This study demonstrated that higher baseline serum A-FABP levels were associated with FLI as a predictive indicator of NAFLD after 4 years of follow-up in healthy Korean adults.


Adipocytes; Fatty acid-binding proteins; Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; Ultrasonography

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