Adiponectin and resistin's possible roles in weight regulation have received little attention. We tested the hypothesis that adipokine levels predict future weight gain in women in the Nurses' Health Study. Among women who provided blood samples in 1990, we studied 1,063 women who did not develop diabetes ("healthy") and 984 women who subsequently developed diabetes. Total and high-molecular-weight (HMW) adiponectin and resistin levels were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Women who did not developed diabetes had a mean BMI of 26.3 ± 6.0 kg/m(2) at baseline and gained 2.0 ± 6.1 kg over 4 years. Women who developed diabetes had a mean BMI of 30.1 ± 5.4 kg/m(2) at baseline, and gained 2.4 ± 7.1 kg over 4 years. In women who did not developed diabetes, higher baseline levels of total and HMW adiponectin were associated with significantly greater weight gain after adjustment for age, BMI, physical activity, diet, and other covariates: women in the highest quintile of total adiponectin gained 3.18 kg compared to women in the lowest quintile who gained 0.80 kg (fully adjusted; P for trend <0.0001). Adiponectin was not significantly associated with weight gain in women who subsequently developed diabetes. Resistin levels were not associated with weight gain in either women who did or did not develop diabetes during the follow-up. We conclude that elevated adiponectin levels are associated with higher weight gain in healthy women, independent of confounding risk factors. High adiponectin production by adipocytes might be a sign of "healthy" adipose tissue with further capacity to store fat.