2019 Volume 26 Issue 3 Pages 216-232
Fatty acid-binding proteins (FABPs), a family of lipid chaperones, contribute to systemic metabolic regulation via several lipid signaling pathways. Fatty acid-binding protein 4 (FABP4), known as adipocyte FABP (A-FABP) or aP2, is mainly expressed in adipocytes and macrophages and plays important roles in the development of insulin resistance and atherosclerosis in relation to metabolically driven low-grade and chronic inflammation, referred to as ‘metaflammation’. FABP4 is secreted from adipocytes in a non-classical pathway associated with lipolysis and acts as an adipokine for the development of insulin resistance and atherosclerosis. Circulating FABP4 levels are associated with several aspects of metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease. Ectopic expression and function of FABP4 in cells and tissues are also related to the pathogenesis of several diseases. Pharmacological modification of FABP4 function by specific inhibitors, neutralizing antibodies or antagonists of unidentified receptors would be novel therapeutic strategies for several diseases, including obesity, diabetes mellitus, atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. Significant roles of FABP4 as a lipid chaperone in physiological and pathophysiological conditions and the possibility of FABP4 being a therapeutic target for metabolic and cardiovascular diseases are discussed in this review.