Adipokines: the missing link between insulin resistance and obesity

Diabetes Metab. 2008 Feb;34(1):2-11. doi: 10.1016/j.diabet.2007.09.004.


White adipose tissue was believed to be just an energy-storage organ, but it is now recognized to be an active participant in energy homoeostasis and physiological functions such as immunity and inflammation. Macrophages are components of adipose tissue and actively participate in its activities. Adipose tissue is known to express and secrete a variety of products known as 'adipokines', including leptin, adiponectin, resistin and visfatin, as well as cytokines and chemokines such as tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin-6 and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1. The release of adipokines by either adipocytes or adipose tissue-infiltrated macrophages leads to a chronic subinflammatory state that could play a central role in the development of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, and the increased risk of cardiovascular disease associated with obesity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adipokines / physiology*
  • Adiponectin / physiology
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / physiology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / physiopathology
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology*
  • Interleukin-6 / physiology
  • Leptin / physiology
  • Nicotinamide Phosphoribosyltransferase / physiology
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor 1 / physiology
  • Resistin / physiology
  • Serum Amyloid A Protein / physiology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / physiology


  • Adipokines
  • Adiponectin
  • Interleukin-6
  • Leptin
  • Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor 1
  • Resistin
  • Serum Amyloid A Protein
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Nicotinamide Phosphoribosyltransferase