Obesity is a major risk factor for insulin resistance. Resistin, an adipocyte-derived hormone-like molecule, is considered to serve as an important link between obesity and insulin resistance. However, the physiological role of resistin and the mechanism by which it neutralizes insulin action are still unclear. There are also conflicting reports that cast doubt on the cause of insulin resistance. In this study, we developed an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) system for quantification of mouse resistin levels, analyzed in relation to insulin resistance. C57BL/6J mice fed high-fat diet compared with normal diet had low resistin levels (by 70%, P<0.01) in epididymal adipose tissues. Genetically obese mice, db/db and KK-A(y), had hyperinsulinemia and hyperglycemia but low resistin levels (decreases by 83 and 90%, both P<0.01) compared with C57/BL6J mice in epididymal adipose tissues. Serum resistin levels determined by Western blotting showed a similar pattern to those in adipose tissues. Resistin levels in adipose tissues correlated with serum adiponectin concentrations positively (r=0.49). Our results indicate that the novel ELISA system is suitable for measurement of resistin levels in adipose tissues. The results do not support a role for resistin in insulin resistance.