Liver fatty acid-binding protein as a diagnostic marker for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

Wien Klin Wochenschr. 2016 Jan;128(1-2):48-52. doi: 10.1007/s00508-014-0680-8. Epub 2014 Dec 2.


Background and aims: Liver fatty acid-binding protein (L-FABP) is a small cytoplasmic protein. The aim of the current study was to investigate L-FABP levels and to determine their diagnostic value for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Methods: We enrolled in this study 24 consecutive patients with NAFLD who were diagnosed with elevated transaminases and with steatosis by ultrasonograph. The control group consisted of 22 healthy control subjects matched for age and gender. Serum levels of L-FABP were determined by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.

Results: L-FABP levels in NAFLD patients were higher than in the control group (levels were 41,976 ± 18,998 and 17048 ± 5021 pg/mL, respectively). A strong correlation was found between serum L-FABP concentrations and aspartate aminotransferase, alanine aminotransferase, body mass index, glucose and γ-glutamyltransferase levels. A level of 284,000 pg/mL L-FABP had 73% sensitivity and 100% specificity. Positive and negative predictive values for L-FABP were 100 and 79%, respectively.

Conclusions: Serum L-FABP can be considered as a new diagnostic marker for detecting non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Keywords: Liver fatty acid-binding protein; Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood*
  • Fatty Acid-Binding Proteins / blood*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / blood*
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / diagnosis*
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Biomarkers
  • Fatty Acid-Binding Proteins