Fatty acid-binding proteins: Functional understanding and diagnostic implications

Heli Xu, Anastasia Diolintzi, Judith Storch

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Purpose of reviewFatty acid-binding proteins (FABPs) are a family of small, abundant proteins with highly tissue-specific expression patterns whose different functions remain incompletely understood. The purpose of this review is to summarize recent findings regarding FABP functions and mechanisms of action, including their potential utilization as serum markers of tissue-specific metabolic diseases.Recent findingsFABPs are important not only in their tissues of origin but also appear to influence the metabolism and function of tissues distal to their sites of expression. This may be secondary to metabolic changes in their primary tissues, and/or a result of FABP secretion from these tissues leading to effects on distal sites. Their levels in the circulation are increasingly explored as potential biomarkers for tissue-specific disease prognosis and progression.SummaryThe nine fatty acid-binding members of the FABP family have unique tissue-specific functions and important secondary effects on tissues in which they are not expressed. For many of the FABPs, circulating levels may be indicative of disease processes related to their primary tissues, and may influence physiological function in distal tissues.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)407-412
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


  • biomarker
  • cancer
  • fatty acid
  • fatty acid-binding protein
  • obesity


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