Circulating adiponectin levels fall whereas leptin levels rise with obesity, suggesting that regulation of these two adipocyte-derived hormones may be simultaneously influenced by common obesity-related factors. We examined adiponectin mRNA levels in WAT and in some instances, brown adipose tissue (BAT) following fasting and refeeding, acute and chronic administration of a beta(3)-adrenergic agonist, acute treatment with retinoic acid (RA) and a glucocorticoid, and following chronic infusion of leptin and compared the expression of adiponectin to that of leptin in each circumstance. Serum concentrations of adiponectin were also reported for most of the treatments. Fasting diminished and refeeding reversed both adiponectin and leptin gene expression. Peripheral injection of the beta(3)-adrenergic agonist, CL316,243, suppressed both leptin and adiponectin expression in WAT. A small but significant reduction in adiponectin expression in BAT was also observed following this treatment. Although CL316,23 lowered serum leptin levels markedly, it did not affect serum adiponectin levels. A chronic 7-day infustion of CL316,243 resulted in an elevation of adiponectin expression in WAT and serum concentrations in contrast to suppressions in both mRNA and serum levels of leptin by a similar treatment as previously reported. Chronic administration of leptin did not alter adiponectin synthesis in WAT compared to controls, but prevented the reduction in adiponectin synthesis associated with pair feeding. Food restriction through pair feeding also diminished adiponectin expression in BAT. Collectively, although leptin and adiponectin are inversely correlated with obesity, leptin does not appear to participate directly in adiponectin synthesis. The short-term regulation of the two adipokine expression in WAT is somewhat similar, perhaps subjective to common control of energy balance. The long-term regulation of adiponectin expression in WAT appears to be the opposite of that of leptin and may be more sensitive to changes in adiposity or insulin sensitivity.