Plasma adiponectin--an independent indicator of liver fat accumulation

Metabolism. 2011 Nov;60(11):1515-20. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2011.03.009. Epub 2011 May 11.


Proinflammatory cytokines and adipokines have a significant role in the development and progression of fatty liver. The aim of our current study was to explore the major indicators for hepatic fat determined as liver brightness. In addition to peptide hormones, several known cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors were included in the model. This is a population-based, epidemiological, cross-sectional study where 1200 subjects (600 men and 600 women, aged 40-59 years) were randomly selected, half of them having hypertension and half of them being controls. The severity of liver adiposity was measured by ultrasound and based on the brightness of the liver estimated as a numerical value ranging from 0 to 2. With respect to the studied peptide hormones, the associations between liver brightness and plasma adiponectin (P < .001), leptin (P < .001), ghrelin (P = .005), and highly sensitive C-reactive protein concentrations (P < .001) were significant before adjustments. When several other risk factors (age, sex, body mass index, waist circumference, quantitative insulin sensitivity check index, smoking, and alcohol consumption) and novel risk markers (adiponectin, leptin, ghrelin, and highly sensitive C-reactive protein concentrations) were considered simultaneously, of the peptide hormones, adiponectin remained the strongest independent indicator of the brightness of the liver (P = .025). Adiponectin is a very strong predictor for liver brightness, even after adjustment for the numerous other metabolic risk factors, markers of inflammation, and novel obesity-related peptide hormones. Whether low adiponectin levels predict to liver fat accumulation remains to be explored in a future prospective follow-up of this cohort.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adiponectin / blood
  • Adiposity / physiology
  • Adult
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Fatty Liver / blood
  • Fatty Liver / complications
  • Fatty Liver / diagnosis*
  • Fatty Liver / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lipid Metabolism / physiology*
  • Liver / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / blood
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / diagnosis
  • Obesity / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Prognosis


  • ADIPOQ protein, human
  • Adiponectin
  • Biomarkers