The role of adiponectin in reproduction: from polycystic ovary syndrome to assisted reproduction

Fertil Steril. 2010 Nov;94(6):1949-57. doi: 10.1016/j.fertnstert.2010.05.010. Epub 2010 Jun 19.


Objective: To summarize the effects of the adipokine adiponectin on the reproductive endocrine system, from the hypothalamic-pituitary axis to the gonads and target tissues of the reproductive system.

Design: A Medline computer search was performed to identify relevant articles.

Setting: Research institution.

Intervention(s): None.

Result(s): Adiponectin is a hormone secreted by adipose tissue that acts to reduce insulin resistance and atherogenic damage, but it also exerts actions in other tissues. Adiponectin mediates its actions in the periphery mainly via two receptors, AdipoR1 and AdipoR2. Adiponectin receptors are present in many reproductive tissues, including the central nervous system, ovaries, oviduct, endometrium, and testes. Adiponectin influences gonadotropin release, normal pregnancy, and assisted reproduction outcomes.

Conclusion(s): Adiponectin, a beneficial adipokine, represents a major link between obesity and reproduction. Higher levels of adiponectin are associated with improved menstrual function and better outcomes in assisted reproductive cycles.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adiponectin / genetics
  • Adiponectin / metabolism
  • Adiponectin / physiology
  • Animals
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infertility / etiology
  • Infertility / genetics
  • Infertility / therapy*
  • Models, Biological
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / etiology
  • Obesity / genetics
  • Obesity / metabolism
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome* / complications
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome* / genetics
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome* / metabolism
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome* / therapy
  • Pregnancy
  • Reproduction / genetics
  • Reproduction / physiology*
  • Reproductive Techniques, Assisted*


  • ADIPOQ protein, human
  • Adiponectin