Serum retinol binding protein 4 and galectin-3 binding protein as novel markers for postmenopausal nonalcoholic fatty liver disease

Clin Biochem. 2018 Jun;56:95-101. doi: 10.1016/j.clinbiochem.2018.04.017. Epub 2018 Apr 19.


Objective: To investigate the differential protein expression before and after menopause in women with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and to explore novel markers for menopausal NAFLD.

Methods: Eight serum samples collected from pre- or post-menopausal women with NAFLD were analysed by iTRAQ 2D-LC-MS/MS. Two protein candidates were selected and verified by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in serum samples collected from a one hundred and fifty-three female population subsequently, including 51 in post-menopausal status with NAFLD, 41 in pre-menopausal with NAFLD, 19 healthy individuals in post-menopausal status and 42 healthy pre-menopausal women.

Results: A total of one hundred and sixty-seven proteins exhibiting significant changes were characterized, among which sixty-five were up-regulated and one hundred and two were down-regulated. Of those altered proteins, the expression of serum retinol binding protein 4 (RBP4) and galectin-3 binding protein (LGALS3BP) was obviously increased in the post-menopausal patient group compared to the other. ELISA validations for the two proteins were consistent with the proteomic profiling.

Conclusions: Serum RBP4 and LGAL3BP were up-regulated after menopause under NAFLD conditions, which suggested the two proteins may be potential markers as NAFLD in postmenopausal population.

Keywords: Galectin-3 binding protein; Menopause; Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease; Proteomics; Serum retinol binding protein 4.

Publication types

  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / blood*
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / chemistry
  • Antigens, Neoplasm / metabolism
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / chemistry
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism
  • Carrier Proteins / blood*
  • Carrier Proteins / chemistry
  • Carrier Proteins / metabolism
  • China
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Cohort Studies
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Glycoproteins / blood*
  • Glycoproteins / chemistry
  • Glycoproteins / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Liver / diagnostic imaging
  • Middle Aged
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / blood*
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / diagnostic imaging
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / ethnology
  • Peptide Mapping
  • Postmenopause / ethnology
  • Proteomics / methods
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retinol-Binding Proteins, Plasma / analysis*
  • Retinol-Binding Proteins, Plasma / chemistry
  • Retinol-Binding Proteins, Plasma / metabolism
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry
  • Ultrasonography
  • Up-Regulation*


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Biomarkers
  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Glycoproteins
  • LGALS3BP protein, human
  • RBP4 protein, human
  • Retinol-Binding Proteins, Plasma