Adiponectin is a protein secreted by adipocytes, which modulates insulin resistance and is thought to confer protection from atherosclerosis. Decreased circulating adiponectin is seen in states of insulin resistance, yet the cause of this decrease remains unclear. We investigated the role of insulin in adiponectin secretion and the effect of selective insulin resistance on insulin-stimulated adiponectin secretion by 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Inhibition of the phosphatidylinositol 3'-kinase (PI3K) insulin-signaling pathway was induced with wortmannin (WT) or with a kinase-inactive Akt adenoviral construct (Akt-KD), and inhibition of the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway was induced with PD98059 or with a dominant-negative ras adenoviral construct (DNras). The PI3K pathway was activated with a constitutively active Akt adenoviral construct (Akt-myr). Adiponectin was measured by Western blot, and adiponectin messenger RNA (mRNA) levels were determined by real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. Insulin treatment increased adiponectin secretion and decreased intracellular adiponectin. Treatment with 100 nmol/L insulin for 24 hours resulted in a 78% increase in secreted adiponectin (P < .05). Insulin had no effect on adiponectin mRNA. WT or Akt-KD, but not PD98059 or DNras, inhibited insulin-stimulated adiponectin secretion (P < .05). Activation of the PI3K pathway resulted in increased insulin-independent adiponectin secretion. Inhibition of the PI3K- or mitogen-activated protein kinase-dependent pathway decreased adiponectin mRNA by 50% (P < .01). We demonstrate a decrease in insulin-stimulated adiponectin secretion with selective inhibition of the PI3K pathway. These results suggest a mechanism for the observed decreased adiponectin levels associated with insulin resistance, when defects in the PI3K-dependent insulin-signaling pathway lead to decreased adiponectin production, inadequate adiponectin secretion, and therefore low circulating adiponectin levels.