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, 116 (7), 1784-92

Adiponectin and Adiponectin Receptors in Insulin Resistance, Diabetes, and the Metabolic Syndrome


Adiponectin and Adiponectin Receptors in Insulin Resistance, Diabetes, and the Metabolic Syndrome

Takashi Kadowaki et al. J Clin Invest.


Adiponectin is an adipokine that is specifically and abundantly expressed in adipose tissue and directly sensitizes the body to insulin. Hypoadiponectinemia, caused by interactions of genetic factors such as SNPs in the Adiponectin gene and environmental factors causing obesity, appears to play an important causal role in insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and the metabolic syndrome, which are linked to obesity. The adiponectin receptors, AdipoR1 and AdipoR2, which mediate the antidiabetic metabolic actions of adiponectin, have been cloned and are downregulated in obesity-linked insulin resistance. Upregulation of adiponectin is a partial cause of the insulin-sensitizing and antidiabetic actions of thiazolidinediones. Therefore, adiponectin and adiponectin receptors represent potential versatile therapeutic targets to combat obesity-linked diseases characterized by insulin resistance. This Review describes the pathophysiology of adiponectin and adiponectin receptors in insulin resistance, diabetes, and the metabolic syndrome.


Figure 1
Figure 1. Adiponectin hypothesis for insulin resistance, the metabolic syndrome, and atherosclerosis.
Reduced adiponectin levels can be caused by interactions of genetic factors such as SNP 276 in the Adiponectin gene itself and environmental factors, i.e., lifestyle changes that cause obesity, such as a high-fat diet and sedentary lifestyle. This reduction in adiponectin levels in turn appears to play an important causal role in the development of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes (T2D), and metabolic disease, thereby indirectly causing atherosclerosis. Moreover, reduced adiponectin levels also directly play a causal role in the development of atherosclerosis.
Figure 2
Figure 2. Structure of adiponectin receptors.
AdipoR1 and AdipoR2 (66.7% amino acid identity with AdipoR1) are predicted to contain 7 transmembrane domains but are structurally and topologically distinct from GPCRs. Redrawn with permission from Endocrine Reviews (21); copyright 2005, The Endocrine Society.
Figure 3
Figure 3. Signal transduction by adiponectin receptors.
Globular adiponectin exists as a trimer, whereas full-length adiponectin exists as at least 3 species of multimers: an LMW trimer, an MMW hexamer, and an HMW multimer. Suppression of AdipoR1 by RNA interference markedly reduces globular adiponectin binding, whereas suppression of AdipoR2 by RNA interference largely reduces full-length adiponectin–specific binding (21, 84). The dotted line between AdipoR2 and globular adiponectin reflects that AdipoR2 is a relatively low-affinity receptor for globular adiponectin. AdipoR1 and AdipoR2 do not seem to be coupled with G proteins, since overexpression of AdipoR1/R2 has little effect on cAMP, cGMP, and intracellular calcium levels, but instead these receptors activate unique sets of signaling molecules such as PPARα, AMPK, and p38 MAPK. In C2C12 myocytes overexpressing AdipoR1/R2, adiponectin stimulates PPARα, AMPK, and p38 MAPK activation, glucose uptake, and fatty-acid oxidation (84). Suppression of AMPK or PPARα partially reduces adiponectin-stimulated fatty-acid oxidation, and suppression of AMPK or p38 MAPK partially reduces adiponectin-stimulated glucose uptake. In hepatocytes overexpressing AdipoR1/R2, adiponectin stimulates PPARα or AMPK and fatty-acid oxidation (84). Suppression of AMPK or PPARα in these hepatocytes partially reduces adiponectin-stimulated fatty-acid oxidation. Moreover, treatment with adiponectin reduces plasma glucose levels and molecules involved in gluconeogenesis in the liver, and dominant-negative AMPK partly reduces these effects.These data support the conclusion that AdipoR1 and AdipoR2 serve as receptors for globular and full-length adiponectin and mediate increased AMPK, PPARα ligand activities, p38 MAPK, and adiponectin-induced biological functions.T-cadherin is capable of binding adiponectin but is thought to have no effect on adiponectin cellular signaling, since T-cadherin lacks an intracellular domain (86). Interaction of APPL1 (adaptor protein containing pleckstrin homology domain, phosphotyrosine-binding domain, and leucine zipper motif 1) with AdipoR1 appears to play important roles in adiponectin signaling and adiponectin-mediated downstream events such as lipid oxidation and glucose uptake (88). S-S, disulfide bond. Adapted with permission from Endocrine Reviews (21); copyright 2005, The Endocrine Society.
Figure 4
Figure 4. TZDs ameliorate insulin resistance and diabetes by both adiponectin-dependent and -independent pathways.
We propose that there are 2 different pathways in the amelioration of insulin resistance induced by the PPARγ agonists TZDs, such as pioglitazone and probably rosiglitazone. One involves an adiponectin-dependent pathway and the other an adiponectin-independent pathway. TZDs increase adiponectin levels, ameliorating insulin resistance, increasing AMPK activation, and decreasing gluconeogenesis in the liver. On the other hand, independently of adiponectin, TZDs decrease adipocyte size, serum FFA levels, and expression of TNF-α and resistin, thus contributing to amelioration of insulin resistance in skeletal muscle.

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