Several adipocyte-secreted factors have been demonstrated to potentially link obesity, insulin resistance, and cardiovascular disease. Among those, adiponectin is an insulin-sensitizing and anti-inflammatory adipokine, concentrations of which are decreased in obesity-associated metabolic and vascular disorders. Recently, two adiponectin receptors (AdipoR) have been isolated and adenosine monophosphate kinase (AMPK), as well as acetyl coenzyme A carboxylase (ACC), appear to be critical downstream mediators for various effects of this adipokine. In addition to beneficial metabolic effects, adiponectin seems to be vasoprotective by interfering with various atherogenic processes. Of clinical interest, thiazolidinediones (TZDs) which are used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes stimulate adiponectin expression and secretion whereas several hormones dysregulated in insulin resistance and obesity downregulate this adipokine. The current knowledge on regulation and function of adiponectin in obesity, insulin resistance, and cardiovascular disease is summarized in this review and its clinical implications are discussed.