Fatty acid binding protein 4 (FABP4), also known as adipocyte FABP or aP2, is secreted from adipocytes in association with lipolysis as a novel adipokine, and elevated serum FABP4 level is associated with obesity, insulin resistance, and atherosclerosis. However, little is known about the modulation of serum FABP4 level by therapeutic drugs. Sitagliptin (50 mg/day), a dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP-4) inhibitor that increases glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1), was administered to patients with type 2 diabetes (n = 24) for 12 weeks. Treatment with sitagliptin decreased serum FABP4 concentration by 19.7% (17.8 ± 1.8 vs. 14.3 ± 1.5 ng/ml, P<0.001) and hemoglobin A1c without significant changes in adiposity or lipid variables. In 3T3-L1 adipocytes, sitagliptin or exendin-4, a GLP-1 receptor agonist, had no effect on short-term (2 h) secretion of FABP4. However, gene expression and long-term (24 h) secretion of FABP4 were significantly reduced by sitagliptin, which was not mimicked by exendin-4. Treatment with recombinant DPP-4 increased gene expression and long-term secretion of FABP4, and the effects were cancelled by sitagliptin. Furthermore, knockdown of DPP-4 in 3T3-L1 adipocytes decreased gene expression and long-term secretion of FABP4. In conclusion, sitagliptin decreases serum FABP4 level, at least in part, via reduction in the expression and consecutive secretion of FABP4 in adipocytes by direct inhibition of DPP-4.
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