Adiponectin has demonstrated insulin-sensitizing, antiatherogenic, and anti-inflammatory properties, and may be an important risk factor for coronary heart disease and diabetes. Relatively few previous studies of plasma adiponectin have included sizable numbers of African Americans. The objective of the study was to investigate plasma concentrations of adiponectin and correlates of these concentrations in African Americans. This was a cross-sectional analysis that took place within the Hypertension Genetic Epidemiology Network. This study included 211 normotensive offspring (aged 22-37 years) of hypertensive siblings recruited by the Hypertension Genetic Epidemiology Network Birmingham, AL, field center. In addition to measuring plasma adiponectin, demographic and lifestyle data were collected, and anthropometric, clinical, and laboratory measurements were obtained. Mean plasma adiponectin concentration was 5.5+/-3.8 microg/mL. Adiponectin was 55% higher in women than in men: 6.5+/-4.4 vs 4.2+/-2.5 microg/mL, respectively (P<.0001). In a multivariable analysis, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentration was positively associated and male sex and insulin concentration were negatively associated with plasma adiponectin concentration. Plasma adiponectin concentrations in these African Americans were lower than those reported in other racial/ethnic groups, including Japanese, whites, and Pima Indians. The directions of the associations of plasma adiponectin with other factors were in agreement with results in other racial/ethnic groups.