Journal of Endocrinology

 Role of the fatty acid-binding protein 4 in heart failure and cardiovascular disease

Obesity and ectopic fat accumulation in non-adipose tissues are major contributors to heart failure (HF) and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Adipocytes act as endocrine organs by releasing a large number of bioactive molecules into the bloodstream, which participate in a communication network between white adipose tissue and other organs, including the heart. Among these molecules, fatty acid-binding protein 4 (FABP4) has recently been shown to increase cardiometabolic risk. Both clinical and experimental evidence have identified FABP4 as a relevant player in atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease, and it has been directly related to cardiac alterations such as left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) and both systolic and diastolic cardiac dysfunction. The available interventional studies preclude the establishment of a direct causal role of this molecule in CVD and HF and propose FABP4 as a biomarker rather than as an aetiological factor. However, several experimental reports have suggested that FABP4 may act as a direct contributor to cardiac metabolism and physiopathology, and the pharmacological targeting of FABP4 may restore some of the metabolic alterations that are conducive to CVD and HF. Here, we review the current knowledge regarding FABP4 in the context of HF and CVD as well as the molecular basis by which this protein participates in the regulation of cardiac function.