Regulation of adipocytokines and insulin resistance

Diabetologia. 2003 Dec;46(12):1594-603. doi: 10.1007/s00125-003-1228-z. Epub 2003 Nov 6.


It has long been known that obesity and insulin resistance are linked. Recently, it has been shown that adipocytes secrete several proteins including tumour necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin-6, resistin, and adiponectin. Since several of these so-called adipocytokines influence insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism profoundly, they might provide a molecular link between increased adiposity and impaired insulin sensitivity. Thiazolidinediones which decrease insulin resistance and are used in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes seem to mediate part of their insulin-sensitising effects via modulation of adipocytokine expression. Furthermore, hormones such as beta-adrenergic agonists, insulin, glucocorticoids, and growth hormone might impair insulin sensitivity at least in part via up-regulation or down-regulation of adipocytokine synthesis. We summarise the current knowledge on how major adipocyte-secreted proteins are regulated by hormones and drugs influencing insulin sensitivity and discuss its implications for insulin resistance and obesity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adiponectin
  • Adipose Tissue / immunology
  • Adipose Tissue / physiology*
  • Adipose Tissue / physiopathology
  • Animals
  • Cytokines / physiology*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Hormones, Ectopic / physiology
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins*
  • Interleukin-6 / physiology
  • Leptin / physiology
  • Obesity
  • Proteins / physiology
  • Resistin


  • Adiponectin
  • Cytokines
  • Hormones, Ectopic
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Interleukin-6
  • Leptin
  • Proteins
  • RETN protein, human
  • Resistin