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Arch Endocrinol Metab. 2017 Dec;61(6):614-622. doi: 10.1590/2359-3997000000316.

Relationships between adiponectin levels, the metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes: a literature review.

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Programa de Pós-Graduação em Endocrinología, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Porto Alegre, RS, Brasil.
Departamento de Nutrição, Universidade Federal de Ciências da Saúde de Porto Alegre (UFCSPA), Porto Alegre, RS, Brasil.
Universidade Federal de São Paulo (Unifesp), Departamento de Medicina, Disciplina de Endocrinologia, São Paulo, SP, Brasil.
Unidade de Metabolismo, Divisão de Endocrinologia, Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre (HCPA), Porto Alegre, RS, Brasil.


Elevated hepatic glucose production, impaired insulin secretion, and insulin resistance - abnormalities of glucose metabolism typically found in subjects with obesity - are major factors underlying the pathogenesis of type 2 diabetes (DM2) and the metabolic syndrome (MS). Adiponectin is a major regulator of glucose and lipid homeostasis via its insulin-sensitizing properties, and lower levels seems to be associated with the development of DM2 and MS. The purpose of this review is to clarify the mechanisms whereby adiponectin relates to the development of DM2 and MS and the association between polymorphisms of the adiponectin gene, circulating levels of the hormone, and its relationships with DM2. In addition, the impact of dietary lipids in the circulating levels of adiponectin will be addressed. According to the literature, circulating adiponectin levels seem to decrease as the number of MS components increases. Lower adiponectin concentrations are associated with higher intra-abdominal fat content. Therefore, adiponectin could link intra-abdominal fat with insulin resistance and development of MS. Therapeutic strategies that target the MS and its components, such as lifestyle modification through physical activity and weight loss, have been shown to increase adiponectin concentrations. Possible roles of diets containing either low or high amounts of fat, or different types of fat, have been analyzed in several studies, with heterogeneous results. Supplementation with n-3 PUFA modestly increases adiponectin levels, whereas conjugated linoleic acid supplementation appears to reduce concentrations when compared with unsaturated fatty acid supplementation used as an active placebo.

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