, Volume 32, Issue 2, pp 166-169
Date: 05 Dec 2007

Retinol binding protein 4, low birth weight-related insulin resistance and hormonal contraception

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It has been recently reported that increased serum levels of retinol binding protein 4 (RBP4), a molecule secreted by adipocytes and liver, could be an early marker of insulin resistance (IR). We determined whether serum RBP4 was increased in low birth weight (LBW)-young women as a model of early-onset IR, through a historical prospective study. The study-population included 35 LBW and 35 born at term appropriate for gestational age (term AGA) young women. Metabolic evaluations included the composite-insulin sensitivity index (composite ISI). Serum RBP4 was measured with a competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). RBP4 levels were similar in LBW and term AGA women, while composite ISI was significantly lower in the former group. With multivariate logistic regression analysis hormonal contraception (HC) use but not birth weight, diabetes in either parents and body mass index was significantly associated with higher RBP4 levels: odds ratio = 10.6; 95% confidence interval (CI) = 2.4–76.6. In spite of higher RBP4 levels in women under HC, composite ISI was similar in women with or without HC. Women under HC also exhibited significantly higher levels of sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), triglycerides, cholesterol, and C-reactive protein (CRP), and all of them, but not composite ISI, were significantly correlated with RBP4 levels. In conclusion, RBP4 serum level was not a marker of IR but, for the first time, it is documented a sustained increase of serum RBP4 under HC. Pathophysiological and clinical significance of this novel finding requires further investigations