Adiponectin inhibits colorectal cancer cell growth through the AMPK/mTOR pathway

Int J Oncol. 2009 Feb;34(2):339-44.


Adiponectin is a peptide hormone secreted by adipose tissue. It is a key hormone responsible for insulin sensitization, and its circulating level is inversely associated with abdominal obesity. Recent studies have shown that a reduced plasma adiponectin level is significantly correlated with the risk of various cancers. However, there are few studies regarding the association of adiponectin and colorectal cancer. To address this issue, we investigated the effect of adiponectin on colorectal cancer cells. Three colorectal cancer cell lines express both AdipoR1 and AdipoR2 receptors. MTT assay revealed that adiponectin inhibited human colorectal cancer cell growth. Furthermore, Western blot analysis revealed that adiponectin activated adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and suppressed mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathways. Selective AMPK inhibitor compound C abrogated the inhibitory effect of adiponectin on cell growth. Our results clearly demonstrate the novel findings that adiponectin inhibits colorectal cancer cell growth via activation of AMPK, thereby down-regulating the mTOR pathway.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology*
  • Adenylate Kinase / metabolism*
  • Adiponectin / pharmacology*
  • Cell Division / drug effects*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Colonic Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Homeostasis
  • Humans
  • Protein Kinases / physiology*
  • Receptors, Adiponectin / genetics*
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases


  • Adiponectin
  • Receptors, Adiponectin
  • Protein Kinases
  • MTOR protein, human
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases
  • Adenylate Kinase