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J Mol Cell Biol. 2016 Apr;8(2):101-9. doi: 10.1093/jmcb/mjw014. Epub 2016 Mar 18.

Adiponectin signaling and function in insulin target tissues.

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Department of Pharmacology, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio, TX 78229, USA
Department of Cell and Structural Biology, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, 7703 Floyd Curl Drive, San Antonio, TX 78229, USA


Obesity-linked type 2 diabetes is one of the paramount causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide, posing a major threat on human health, productivity, and quality of life. Despite great progress made towards a better understanding of the molecular basis of diabetes, the available clinical counter-measures against insulin resistance, a defect that is central to obesity-linked type 2 diabetes, remain inadequate. Adiponectin, an abundant adipocyte-secreted factor with a wide-range of biological activities, improves insulin sensitivity in major insulin target tissues, modulates inflammatory responses, and plays a crucial role in the regulation of energy metabolism. However, adiponectin as a promising therapeutic approach has not been thoroughly explored in the context of pharmacological intervention, and extensive efforts are being devoted to gain mechanistic understanding of adiponectin signaling and its regulation, and reveal therapeutic targets. Here, we discuss tissue- and cell-specific functions of adiponectin, with an emphasis on the regulation of adiponectin signaling pathways, and the potential crosstalk between the adiponectin and other signaling pathways involved in metabolic regulation. Understanding better just why and how adiponectin and its downstream effector molecules work will be essential, together with empirical trials, to guide us to therapies that target the root cause(s) of type 2 diabetes and insulin resistance.


APPL1; APPL2; adiponectin; adiponectin receptor; cell signaling; insulin resistance

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