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This article has been peer reviewed and is published in Antioxidants & Redox Signaling Volume 15, Issue 7, 1 October 2011, Pages 1863-1873. The published version is available at DOI: 10.1089/ars.2010.3743. ©Mary Ann Liebert, Inc


Adiponectin (Ad) is an abundant protein hormone regulatory of numerous metabolic processes. The 30 kDa protein originates from adipose tissue, with full-length and globular domain circulatory forms. A collagenous domain within Ad leads to spontaneous self-assemblage into various oligomeric isoforms, including trimers, hexamers, and high-molecular-weight multimers. Two membrane-spanning receptors for Ad have been identified, with differing concentration distribution in various body tissues. The major intracellular pathway activated by Ad includes phosphorylation of AMP-activated protein kinase, which is responsible for many of Ad's metabolic regulatory, anti-inflammatory, vascular protective, and anti-ischemic properties. Additionally, several AMP-activated protein kinase-independent mechanisms responsible for Ad's anti-inflammatory and anti-ischemic (resulting in cardioprotective) effects have also been discovered. Since its 1995 discovery, Ad has garnered considerable attention for its role in diabetic and cardiovascular pathology. Clinical observations have demonstrated the association of hypoadiponectinemia in patients with obesity, cardiovascular disease, and insulin resistance. In this review, we elaborate currently known information about Ad malfunction and deficiency pertaining to cardiovascular disease risk (including atherosclerosis, endothelial dysfunction, and cardiac injury), as well as review evidence supporting Ad resistance as a novel risk factor for cardiovascular injury, providing insight about the future of Ad research and the protein's potential therapeutic benefits.

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