Molecular mechanism of metabolic syndrome X: contribution of adipocytokines adipocyte-derived bioactive substances

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1999 Nov 18;892:146-54. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.1999.tb07793.x.


Syndrome X is a clinical syndrome in which multiple risks cluster in an individual, and it is a common basis of vascular disease in the industrial countries. The molecular basis of Syndrome X, however, has not been elucidated. We have analyzed body fat distribution using CT scan and have shown that people who have accumulated intra-abdominal visceral fat frequently have multiple risks and vascular diseases. Thus, "visceral fat syndrome" is a clinical entity compatible with Syndrome X. To clarify the molecular mechanism of the disorders in visceral fat syndrome, we analyzed the expressed genes in adipose tissue by a large-scale random sequencing. Unexpectedly, visceral fat expressed a variety of the genes for secretory proteins including various bioactive substances; we designated them adipocytokines. One of them, plasminogen activator inhibitor-1, was overproduced in accumulated visceral fat and might contribute to the development of vascular disease. We have also cloned a novel adipose-specific gene named adiponectin. Adiponectin is a collagen-like plasma protein which has an inhibitory effect on proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells; its plasma levels are paradoxically decreased in obesity. Adipocytokines may play important roles in the development of the disorders in Syndrome X.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / metabolism*
  • Adipose Tissue*
  • Age Factors
  • Body Constitution
  • Body Weight
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / metabolism
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperlipidemias / metabolism
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Male
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Sucrose / administration & dosage
  • Viscera*


  • Cytokines
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Sucrose