Low plasma levels of the anti-inflammatory factor adiponectin characterize obesity and insulin resistance. To elucidate the relationship between plasma levels of adiponectin, adiponectin gene expression in adipose tissue, and markers of inflammation, we obtained blood samples, anthropometric measures, and subcutaneous adipose tissue samples from 65 postmenopausal healthy women. Adiponectin plasma levels and adipose-tissue gene expression were significantly lower in obese subjects and inversely correlated with obesity-associated variables, including high-sensitive C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) and interleukin-6 (IL-6). Despite adjustment for obesity-associated variables, plasma levels of adiponectin were significantly correlated to adiponectin gene expression (partial r = 0.38, P < 0.05). Furthermore, the inverse correlation between plasma levels of hs-CRP and plasma adiponectin remained significant despite correction for obesity-associated variables (partial r = -0.32, P < 0.05), whereas the inverse correlation between adiponectin plasma levels or adiponectin gene expression in adipose tissue with plasma IL-6 were largely dependent on the clustering of obesity-associated variables. In conclusion, our data suggest a transcriptional mechanism leading to decreased adiponectin plasma levels in obese women and demonstrate that low levels of adiponectin are associated with higher levels of hs-CRP and IL-6, two inflammatory mediators and markers of increased cardiovascular risk.