Worldwide, the prevalence of overweight and obesity and associated complications is increasing. Cardiovascular complications are the most important factor determining survival and influencing clinical management. However, obesity is also associated with an increased risk of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, cancer and other diseases. The development of complications depends on the amount of body fat and its endocrine function. The hormones (leptin, adiponectin, resistin) and cytokines (TNF alpha, IL-6, PAI-1) produced by the adipose tissue are the link between obesity and obesity-related complications. The present article discusses the structure, function and clinical significance of adipokines.