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Public Health Nutr. 2007 Oct;10(10A):1145-50.

Adiponectin, the controversial hormone.

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Department of Physiology, Faculty of Biology, University of Murcia, Campus de Espinardo, s/n. 30100, Murcia, Spain.



To discuss present knowledge about adiponectin hormone.


Review of existing literature.


Adiponectin is one of the most interesting cytokines associated with obesity, although its physiological role remains to be fully clarified. Adiponectin is a 247-amino acid protein that contains four differentiable domains. Contrary to most adipose-related cytokines, adiponectin levels are surprisingly lower in obese than in lean humans. Women have been found to have significantly higher adiponectin plasma concentrations than men. Further research is needed in order to identify new polymorphisms which contribute to explain the potential role of adiponectin in obesity and related pathologies. Considering the anti-inflammatory properties of adiponectin and the fact that it is negatively associated with adiposity, this cytokine could be one of the links between obesity and inflammation. The main mechanisms of action of adiponectin are directed to a protective role against atherogenic and insulin resistance processes. Research has revealed interesting new functions far beyond metabolism, such as immunity, cancer and bone formation. Contrary to all adipose-related proteins, adiponectin decreases with obesity. Most of the contradictory data surrounding adiponectin are related to plasma values and their relationship with body fat, gender differences and insulin resistance. There are important confounding results regarding the mechanisms of action and functions of adiponectin, especially in relation to insulin resistance and inflammation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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