Low systemic plasma adiponectin concentrations are associated with abnormalities in hepatic glucose and lipoprotein metabolism in obese people. However, the relationship between the delivery of adiponectin to the liver via the portal vein and hepatic glucose and lipoprotein metabolism is not known. We examined the relationship between hepatic substrate metabolism (glucose rate of appearance into plasma and hepatic very low-density lipoprotein [VLDL]-triglyceride [TG] and VLDL-apolipoprotein B-100 [apoB-100] secretion rates, determined by using stable isotope-labeled tracer techniques) and portal vein adiponectin concentration, in 8 insulin-resistant, extremely obese subjects (body mass index, 65 ± 7 kg/m(2)). Portal vein adiponectin concentration was inversely associated with basal glucose rate of appearance (r = -0.820, P = .013) and VLDL-TG (r = -0.823, P = .012) and VLDL-apoB-100 (r = -0.787, P = .020) secretion rates. Very similar correlations were obtained for radial artery adiponectin as a result of a mirroring relationship between portal and arterial adiponectin concentrations (r = 0.899, P = .002) and the absence of significant arteriovenous concentration differences (P = .570). Insulin resistance, assessed with the homeostasis model assessment score, was also strongly associated with hepatic glucose and lipid metabolic parameters, as well as with adiponectin concentrations in the portal vein and radial artery. These results suggest that adiponectin delivery to the liver, whether via the portal or the systemic circulation, may be an important regulator of basal hepatic glucose, VLDL-TG, and VLDL-apoB-100 production rates in obese people, possibly through direct effects on the liver or changes in hepatic insulin sensitivity. However, portal vein adiponectin does not appear to be superior to arterial adiponectin as a marker of hepatic metabolic dysregulation. Additional studies are needed to elucidate the mechanism(s) responsible for the strong association we observed between adiponectin and hepatic substrate metabolism.
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