Association of serum retinol binding protein 4 and insulin resistance in apparently healthy adolescents

Metabolism. 2007 Mar;56(3):327-31. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2006.10.011.


Insulin resistance constitutes a pathophysiologic link between obesity, atherosclerosis, and/or cardiovascular complications. Retinol binding protein 4 (RBP4) is a newly discovered adipocyte product that modulates glucose metabolism and consequently induces insulin resistance. We investigated the association between serum RBP4 levels and insulin resistance in obese and nonobese adolescents. A total of 87 nonobese (60 males and 27 females) and 85 obese (62 males and 23 females) apparently healthy adolescents, 12 to 18 years old, were included in this study. A questionnaire was used to obtain participant medical history and lifestyle information, such as smoking and alcohol ingestion habits. Subjects' anthropometric measurements were taken to calculate for body mass index and waist-to-hip ratio. Serum RBP4 levels were measured by an enzyme immunoassay kit. High-sensitivity C-reactive protein, fasting glucose, total cholesterol, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and fasting insulin were measured. Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level and homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) were calculated. Males had significantly higher RBP4 levels than females. Serum RBP4 levels were significantly higher in the obese group compared with the nonobese group. In all subjects, RBP4 was positively correlated with adiposity index (body mass index, waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio), systolic and diastolic blood pressures, glucose tolerance index (fasting glucose, insulin, HOMA-IR), lipid profile (total cholesterol, triglycerides), and inflammatory indices (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, white blood cell count). In multiple linear regression analysis, RBP4 was independently associated with age, HOMA-IR, and triglyceride levels in the nonobese group and with sex and triglyceride levels in the obese group. These results suggest that serum RBP4 might have clinical implications for lipid metabolism and insulin action in adolescents.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Obesity / blood*
  • Retinol-Binding Proteins / analysis*
  • Retinol-Binding Proteins, Plasma


  • RBP4 protein, human
  • Retinol-Binding Proteins
  • Retinol-Binding Proteins, Plasma