Heroin addiction markedly affects the nutritional and metabolic status and frequently leads to malnutrition. The aim of our study was to compare circulating concentration of adipose tissue-derived hormones leptin, adiponectin and resistin in 12 patients with heroin addiction before and after one-year methadone maintenance treatment with the group of 20 age- and body mass index-matched healthy subjects. Basal serum leptin and adiponectin levels in heroin addicts were significantly decreased (3.4+/-0.4 vs. 4.5+/-0.6 ng/ml and 18.9+/-3.3 vs. 33.9+/-3.1 ng/microl, respectively; p 0.05) while serum resistin concentrations were increased compared to healthy subjects (10.1+/-1.2 vs. 4.6+/-0.3 ng/ml; p 0.05). Moreover, positive correlation of serum leptin levels with body mass index was lost in the addicts in contrast to control group. One year of methadone maintenance treatment normalized serum leptin, but not serum adiponectin and resistin concentrations. In conclusion, circulating concentrations of leptin, adiponectin and resistin are markedly altered in patients with chronic heroin addiction. These alterations appear to be relatively independent of nutritional status and insulin sensitivity.