Obestatin is supposed to be involved in nutrient homeostasis. Therefore, basal plasma obestatin levels were investigated in 321 normal weight and obese subjects in relation to body mass index, gender, age, insulin concentrations, and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Additionally, postprandial obestatin levels were determined in 20 normal weight subjects. Basal obestatin levels in females were higher compared to males (193.6+/-5.8 vs. 140.6+/-5.1 pg/ml). Obestatin levels correlated inversely and significantly with body mass index (f: r=-0.632, p<0.001; m: r=-0.487, p<0.001) and basal insulin levels (f: r=-0.536, p<0.001; m: r=-0.320, p=0.008) in females and males. However, in a multiple regression analysis as well as in a matched comparison of a low and high insulin group no significant relationship between insulin and obestatin levels was observed in nondiabetics. On the other hand, inclusion of type 2 diabetics with higher insulin levels resulted in a significant inverse correlation. Obestatin levels were independent of age in both sexes. In patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus basal obestatin levels were not different compared to nondiabetic subjects when matched for gender, body mass index, and insulin. In normal weight subjects, postprandial obestatin levels showed a significant decrease between 60 and 90 minutes rising to basal levels thereafter. The present data demonstrate a relation of plasma obestatin levels to body weight, gender and food intake, but not to age. The inverse relationship with insulin might depend on the level of hyperinsulinemia. The present data are compatible with a potential role of obestatin in nutrient regulation.