Long-term, progressive, aerobic training increases adiponectin in middle-aged, overweight, untrained males and females

Scand J Clin Lab Invest. 2011 Apr;71(2):101-7. doi: 10.3109/00365513.2011.554995. Epub 2011 Jan 27.


Adipose tissue secretes the adipokine, adiponectin (ADPN), which increases insulin sensitivity. Because some of the metabolic effects of exercise and ADPN are similar, exercise has been proposed to increase ADPN. However, most short-term (≤3 mos) and constant-effort exercise protocols have not produced increases in ADPN. Furthermore, no direct comparisons of male and female subjects on the effect of exercise on ADPN levels have been reported. We hypothesized that long-term (6 mos), progressive training would increase ADPN levels in both males and females. We recruited middle-aged, untrained males and females to participate in an interventional study employing a marathon training regimen progressing from 9.7 to 88.5 km (6 to 55 miles) per week over 6 mos. At baseline, we matched the mean ages of the male and female groups. We collected and stored fasting plasma samples and recorded body measurements at 0 (baseline) and 6 mos. Stored samples were analysed for insulin, glucose, and ADPN. ADPN increased significantly among both males (from 5.89 ± 2.46 (mean ± SD) to 7.65 ± 3.18 μg/ml; p < 0.05) and females (from 8.48 ± 3.22 to 10.56 ± 4.05 μg/ml; p < 0.05). The extent of the increase in ADPN was similar in the male (40.7 ± 50%; median, 12.1%) and female (27.0 ± 31.1%; median, 22.3%) groups. However, there was no significant reduction in insulin resistance as measured by the HOMA-IR scores in either group. We conclude that long-term, progressive aerobic training increases circulating ADPN levels in middle-aged, untrained males and females.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adiponectin / blood*
  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Insulin / blood
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Overweight / blood*
  • Patient Compliance
  • Physical Education and Training*
  • Sample Size
  • Time Factors


  • Adiponectin
  • Blood Glucose
  • Insulin