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Small Molecule Inhibitors of Human Adipocyte Fatty Acid Binding Protein (FABP4)

[ Vol. 10 , Issue. 4 ]


Mingming Zhang, Weiliang Zhu and Yingxia Li   Pages 339 - 347 ( 9 )


Fatty acid binding protein 4 (FABP4) is expressed in adipocytes and macrophages, and modulates inflammatory and metabolic response. Studies in FABP4-deficient mice have shown that this lipid carrier has a significant role within the field of metabolic syndrome, inflammation and atherosclerosis; thus, its inhibition may open up new opportunities to develop novel therapeutic agents. A number of potent small molecule inhibitors of FABP4 have been identified and found to have the potential to prevent and treat metabolic diseases such as type-2 diabetes and atherosclerosis. Due to the ubiquity of endogenous fatty acids and the high intracellular concentration of FABP4, the inhibitors need to have significantly greater intrinsic potency than endogenous fatty acids. Furthermore, heart-type FABP (FABP3), which is expressed in both heart and skeletal muscle, is involved in active fatty acid metabolism where it transports fatty acids from the cell membrane to mitochondria for oxidation. However, FABP3 shares high overall sequence identity and similar 3D structure with FABP4, but has a potential problem with selectivity. In this review, we would like to analyze the main inhibitors that have appeared in the literature in the last decade, focusing on chemical structures, biological properties, selectivity and structure-activity relationships.


Fatty acid binding protein 4, FABP4, inhibitor, receptor, small molecule, type 2 diabetes.


School of Pharmacy, Fudan University, Shanghai 201203, China.

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