Resistin is a potential link between obesity and insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes. In rodents, resistin is primarily expressed in and secreted from mature adipocytes, with some expression in pancreatic islets and portions of the pituitary and hypothalamus. Its secretion can be up-regulated by several factors, including insulin and glucose. The exposure of rodents, or their cells, to resistin results in decreased response to insulin. This is likely in part due to an up-regulation of suppressor of cytokine signaling (SOCS)-3, which interferes with the activation of insulin receptor substrate (IRS)-1. However, in humans resistin is expressed primarily by macrophages and seems to be involved in the recruitment of other immune cells and the secretion of pro-inflammatory factors, including tumor necrosis factor (TNF)alpha. Human resistin may interfere with insulin signaling by stimulating the expression of phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome ten (PTEN), which dephosphorylates 3-phosphorylated phosphoinositide (PIP(3)). Resistin also seems to be involved in the development of atherosclerosis in humans by promoting the formation of foam cells and the proliferation and migration of vascular endothelial and smooth muscle cells. Many of the inflammatory related functions of human resistin appear to be regulated by activation of the nuclear factor (NF)kappaB transcription factor. The divergent roles of resistin in humans and rodents are evident by the data presented in this review but they will not be able to be fully understood until the resistin receptor is identified.