Adiponectin is involved in controlling fat metabolism & can help prevent type 2 diabetes. Learn more about how adiponectin may play a role in your health.

What is Adinopectin?

Adiponectin is released in the bloodstream from fat cells, where it is involved in the control of fat metabolism and regulating glucose levels [1].

This protein hormone helps suppress metabolic derangements which lead to type 2 diabetes, obesity, atherosclerosis, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and low levels is an independent risk factor for metabolic syndrome.

Adiponectin may play a role in cell growth, the formation of new blood vessels, and tissue remodeling by binding and sequestering various growth factors [2].

Adiponectin stimulates AMPK, which is a pathway involved in cellular energy homeostasis [2, 3].

It also enhances glucose utilization and fatty-acid combustion in the liver and the muscle [2].

Adiponectin reduces and blocks the effects of the inflammatory cytokine TNF-alpha [4].

It also inhibits NF-kB signaling through the cAMP-dependent pathway [2].

Overall, adiponectin plays an important part in our body as a messenger to communicate between adipose tissue and other organs. It has an important role in metabolism and homeostasis, protects cells from apoptosis, and reduces inflammation in many cell types [5].


  • Higher levels of adiponectin are associated with a lower risk of getting type 2 diabetes. Having a high level of adiponectin may offer protection against getting diabetes for postmenopausal women [6].
  • Adiponectin can help prevent obesity and its metabolic effects [7].
  • Elevated levels of adiponectin are associated with a lower risk of breast cancer [8].
  • It was found that lower levels of adiponectin could lead to non-small cell lung cancer [9].
  • Lower levels of adiponectin are associated with colorectal cancer [10].


  • Adiponectin levels are associated with kidney diseases [11].
  • Excess levels might lead to heart enlargement [5].

Conditions With Lower Adiponectin

  • Obesity [12].
  • Diabetes.  Levels of adiponectin are reduced in diabetics in comparison to non-diabetics and might be a useful marker for diabetes [1314].
  • Asthma [15].
  • Preterm babies: babies that were born prematurely are found to have lower serum adiponectin levels than babies that were carried to full term [16].
  • Mechanisms: TNF [17], IL-6 [17], IL-18 [17], CREB [17], transcription factor 3 [17],

Adiponectin and Autoimmune Disease

Adiponectin is considered a key adipokine in metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome and related complications, especially cardiovascular diseases. In these metabolic conditions, circulating adiponectin is reduced. It is now well known that adiponectin has beneficial effects on endothelial cells and endothelial function and is also cardioprotective. Unlike metabolic diseases, systemic autoimmune and chronic inflammatory joint diseases are characterized by increased production of adiponectin. There is evidence to suggest that adiponectin may be related to disease activity and/or severity in different conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, and osteoarthritis [18].

Adiponectin is highly expressed in the inflamed joint tissue and correlates closely with progressive bone erosion in Rheumatoid arthritis patients [19].

Adiponectin can increase the Th1 and Th17 immune responses, which leads to autoimmunity [19, 20].

In a mouse model of arthritis, adiponectin injection resulted in an earlier and more severe onset of arthritis, an aggravated arthritic progression, bone erosion, and osteoporosis.  Th17 cells, IL-17, IL-22, IL-23 and RANKL [19].

However, in a different model of brain inflammation, adiponectin inhibited Th17 immunity [21]. Additionally, Th1 and Th2 cytokines were lower in people with higher adiponectin who had metabolic syndrome [22].

It seems like whether adiponectin causes inflammation or reduces it will depend on other biological factors and will be different for different people.

Ways Adiponectin Can Increase

The concentration of adiponectin increases when calories are restricted such as in eating disorders [23].

  • DHA [24, 2526]
  • Glycine [27]
  • Curcumin [28]
  • Ginseng [29]
  • Exercise [30]
  • Mediterranean olive oil diet: it was found that a diet that includes olive oil prevents adiponectin downregulation [31].
  • Mechanisms: PPAR gamma [32], FoxO1 [17], C/EBPα (CCAAT-enhancer-binding protein α) [17], Macrophage polarization is a regulator [33].

Irregular Adiponectin Levels?

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