Serum adiponectin upon admission to the intensive care unit may predict mortality in critically ill patients

J Crit Care. 2011 Apr;26(2):166-74. doi: 10.1016/j.jcrc.2010.07.015.


Purpose: Adiponectin has been proposed as an important regulator of glucose metabolism influencing obesity and insulin resistance, which are important risk factors for the outcome of critically ill patients. Moreover, experimental models of inflammation suggest protective anti-inflammatory properties of adiponectin. We therefore investigated the potential pathogenic role and prognostic value of circulating adiponectin levels in critical illness.

Materials and methods: One hundred seventy critically ill patients (122 with sepsis and 48 without sepsis) were prospectively studied at admission to the medical intensive care unit (ICU) and compared with 60 healthy controls. Patients' survival was followed for approximately 3 years.

Results: Adiponectin serum concentrations did not differ between healthy controls and critically ill patients, neither in patients with nor in patients without sepsis. However, patients with decompensated liver cirrhosis had significantly elevated serum adiponectin levels. Likewise to non-critically ill subjects, ICU patients with preexisting diabetes or obesity displayed significantly reduced circulating adiponectin. Inflammatory cytokines did not correlate with serum adiponectin. Interestingly, low adiponectin levels at ICU admission were an independent positive predictor of short-term and overall survival.

Conclusions: Although serum concentrations did not differ in critically ill patients from controls, low adiponectin levels at admission to ICU have been identified as an independent predictor of survival.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adiponectin / blood*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Body Mass Index
  • Critical Illness / mortality*
  • Cytokines / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus / blood
  • Female
  • Hospital Mortality
  • Humans
  • Intensive Care Units
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / blood
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Sepsis / blood
  • Sepsis / mortality
  • Young Adult


  • Adiponectin
  • Biomarkers
  • Cytokines