The metabolic role of retinol binding protein 4: an update

Horm Metab Res. 2012 Jan;44(1):6-14. doi: 10.1055/s-0031-1295491. Epub 2011 Dec 28.


Retinol binding protein 4 (RBP(4)) is regarded as a novel cardiometabolic risk factor, which is secreted mainly by the hepatocytes and also by the adipose tissue. RBP(4) has been shown to induce insulin resistance, and plasma RBP(4) values are increased in type 2 diabetes mellitus, obesity, metabolic syndrome, and cardiovascular disease. Moreover, it has been found that circulating RBP(4) decreases during medical interventions that result in amelioration of the metabolic profile, such as diet, exercise, oral antidiabetic drugs, and hypolipidemic agents. However, only few of the RBP(4)-related studies have investigated whether RBP(4) constitutes a causal factor of the above-mentioned metabolic conditions. Importantly, circulating RBP(4) is influenced by some nonmetabolic conditions, such as renal failure, acute illness, injury, and liver failure. Thus, further studies investigating the metabolic roles of RBP(4) should be carefully planned, taking into account the effects of nonmetabolic conditions on circulating RBP(4).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Metabolic Syndrome / metabolism
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Retinol-Binding Proteins / metabolism*


  • Retinol-Binding Proteins