Adiponectin and glucose production in patients infected with Plasmodium falciparum

Metabolism. 2005 Jan;54(1):60-6. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2004.07.011.


Infections are often complicated by an increase in glucose production due to stimulation of the secretion of glucose counter-regulatory hormones and cytokines. Adiponectin, a fat-derived hormone with insulin-sensitizing properties, could play a regulatory role in the degree of stimulation of glucose production by the infectious agent. Therefore, we investigated the possible correlation between glucose production and plasma adiponectin levels in 25 subjects: 7 patients with cerebral malaria, 6 with uncomplicated malaria, and 12 matched controls. Glucose production was significantly higher in patients with malaria compared to healthy controls (P < .001). Adiponectin levels were not different between the patients with malaria and the control group. However, patients with cerebral malaria had significantly higher values for adiponectin than the patients with uncomplicated malaria (P < .005). Glucose production and gluconeogenesis were positively correlated to plasma adiponectin in the patients (r = 0.835, P < .001 and r = 0.846, P < .001, respectively), whereas these correlations were absent in the controls (r = -0.329, NS and r = -0.028, NS, respectively). In conclusion, adiponectin levels were not different between patients with malaria and their matched controls. However, patients infected with Plasmodium falciparum who have higher glucose production also have higher adiponectin levels. In healthy subjects such a correlation was not found. As adiponectin is known to inhibit glucose production, stimulation of adiponectin secretion during infection could be intended to restrain the glucose production stimulating properties of hormones and cytokines secreted during infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adiponectin
  • Adult
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified / blood
  • Female
  • Glucose / biosynthesis*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / blood*
  • Malaria, Falciparum / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / analysis


  • Adiponectin
  • Fatty Acids, Nonesterified
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Glucose
  • Hydrocortisone