Proteomic characterization of human serum proteins associated with the fat-derived hormone adiponectin

Proteomics. 2006 Jul;6(13):3862-70. doi: 10.1002/pmic.200500840.


Adiponectin is a fat cell-secreted hormone with antidiabetic and anti-inflammatory activities. The reduced adiponectin levels are associated with obesity-related metabolic syndrome. Replenishment of this hormone into animal models can improve insulin sensitivity, decrease blood glucose and lipid levels, and prevent the development of atherosclerosis and fatty liver injury. Despite these findings, the underlying molecular mechanisms remain largely unknown. Here, we have used affinity chromatography to purify the protein complexes that are associated with adiponectin in human serum. The nature of these adiponectin-binding proteins was analyzed by MS/MS. Eight proteins from the adiponectin-containing protein mixtures have been identified. Many of them, including thrombospondin-1 (TSP-1), histidine-rich glycoprotein, kininogen 1, and alpha 2 macroglobulin (alpha2M), are well-known glycoproteins involved in the regulation of inflammation, angiogenesis, and tissue remodeling. Coimmunoprecipitation and radioligand competitive-binding assays confirmed the direct interactions between adiponectin and alpha2M, or TSP-1. Moreover, these specific bindings were also detected in the serum samples derived from both healthy human subjects and patients with type 2 diabetes. In summary, our study demonstrated that, in the circulation, adiponectin forms protein complexes with other serum proteins. These proteins might serve as the physiological-binding partners of adiponectin and regulate its bioavailability and biological activities.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adiponectin / metabolism*
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Blood Proteins / chemistry
  • Blood Proteins / metabolism*
  • Chromatography, Affinity
  • Chromatography, Liquid
  • Electrophoresis, Gel, Two-Dimensional
  • Humans
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Protein Binding
  • Proteome*


  • Adiponectin
  • Blood Proteins
  • Proteome