Adiponectin, an adipocytokine, has been identified in adipose tissue, and its receptors are widely distributed in many tissues, including the liver. The present study was performed to clarify the role of adiponectin in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced liver injury using KK-Ay obese mice. We analyzed the effects of adiponectin pretreatment on liver injury induced by D-galactosamine/LPS (GalN/LPS) in KK-Ay obese mice. GalN/LPS treatment induced significant increases in aspartate aminotransferase (AST) and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels in the blood, apoptotic and necrotic changes in hepatocytes, and/or showed a high degree of lethality. The GalN/LPS-induced liver injury was more pronounced in KK-Ay obese mice than in lean controls. Pretreatment with adiponectin ameliorated the GalN/LPS-induced elevation of serum AST and ALT levels and the apoptotic and necrotic changes in hepatocytes, resulting in a reduction in lethality. In addition, pretreatment with adiponectin attenuated the GalN/LPS-induced increases in serum and hepatic tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) levels and increased peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) alpha messenger RNA expression in the liver. Furthermore, abdominal macrophages from KK-Ay obese mice pretreated with adiponectin in vitro exhibited decreased LPS-induced TNF-alpha production compared with controls. Finally, adiponectin pretreatment also ameliorated TNF-alpha-induced liver injury. In conclusion, these findings suggest that adiponectin prevents LPS-induced hepatic injury by inhibiting the synthesis and/or release of TNF-alpha of KK-Ay obese mice.