Adiponectin is thought to play a decisive role in the relationships among obesity, insulin resistance and cardiovascular risk. This study investigated whether cardiomyocytes synthesize and secrete adiponectin, and the effects of this hormone on cardiac cells. RT-PCR showed that mouse, rat and human cardiomyocytes produced mRNA for adiponectin and adiponectin receptors 1 and 2. Immunohistochemistry confirmed the presence of adiponectin in the cytoplasm of cultured cardiomyocytes, and radioimmunoassay showed that these cells secreted adiponectin into the culture medium. Exogenous adiponectin enhanced glucose and fatty acid uptake and induced AMPK phosphorylation in cultured cardiomyocytes. Our results demonstrate that adiponectin is synthesized and secreted by isolated murine and human cardiomyocytes, and suggest that the local production of this hormone by cardiomyocytes could be involved in the regulation of cardiac metabolism and function.