Increasing serum pre-adipocyte factor-1 (Pref-1) correlates with decreased body fat, increased free fatty acids, and level of recent alcohol consumption in excessive alcohol drinkers

Suthat Liangpunsakul, Rachel Bennett, Chi Westerhold, Ruth A. Ross, David W. Crabb, Xianyin Lai, Frank A. Witzmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations


Patients with alcoholic liver disease have been reported to have a significantly lower percentage of body fat (%BF) than controls. The mechanism for the reduction in %BF in heavy alcohol users has not been elucidated. In adipose tissue, Pref-1 is specifically expressed in pre-adipocytes but not in adipocytes. Pref-1 inhibits adipogenesis and elevated levels are associated with reduced adipose tissue mass. We investigated the association between serum Pref-1 and %BF, alcohol consumption, and serum free fatty acids (FFA) in a well-characterized cohort of heavy alcohol users compared to controls. One hundred forty-eight subjects were prospectively recruited. The Time Line Follow-Back (TLFB) questionnaire was used to quantify the amount of alcohol consumed over the 30-day period before their enrollment. Anthropometric measurements were performed to calculate %BF. Serum Pref-1 and FFA were measured. Fifty-one subjects (mean age 32 ± 9 years, 88% men) were non-excessive drinkers whereas 97 were excessive drinkers (mean age 41 ± 18 years, 69% men). Compared to non-excessive drinkers, individuals with excessive drinking had significantly higher levels of Pref-1 (p<0.01), FFA (p < 0.001), and lower %BF (p = 0.03). Serum levels of Pref-1 were associated with the amount of alcohol consumed during the previous 30 days. Serum Pref-1 was negatively correlated with %BF, but positively associated with serum FFA. Our data suggest that elevated Pref-1 levels in excessive drinkers might inhibit the expansion of adipose tissue, decreasing %BF in alcoholics. Further work is needed to validate these findings and to better understand the role of Pref-1 and its clinical significance in subjects with heavy alcohol use.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)795-800
Number of pages6
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014



  • Alcohol
  • Body fat
  • Free fatty acid
  • Pref-1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Medicine(all)
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Neurology
  • Toxicology
  • Health(social science)

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