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.