Vascular effects of adiponectin: Molecular mechanisms and potential therapeutic intervention

Weidong Zhu, King Yip Cheng, Paul M. Vanhoutte, Karen S L Lam, Aimin Xu

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

218 Citations (Scopus)


Adiponectin is a major adipocyte-secreted adipokine abundantly present in the circulation as three distinct oligomeric complexes. In addition to its role as an insulin sensitizer, mounting evidence suggests that adiponectin is an important player in maintaining vascular homoeostasis. Numerous epidemiological studies based on different ethnic groups have identified adiponectin deficiency (hypoadiponectinaemia) as an independent risk factor for endothelial dysfunction, hypertension, coronary heart disease, myocardial infarction and other cardiovascular complications. Conversely, elevation of circulating adiponectin concentrations by either genetic or pharmacological approaches can alleviate various vascular dysfunctions in animal models. Adiponectin exerts its vasculoprotective effects through its direct actions in the vascular system, such as increasing endothelial NO production, inhibiting endothelial cell activation and endothelium-leucocyte interaction, enhancing phagocytosis, and suppressing macrophage activation, macrophage-to-foam cell transformation and platelet aggregation. In addition, adiponectin reduces neointima formation through an oligomerization-dependent inhibition of smooth muscle proliferation. The present review highlights recent research advances in unveiling the molecular mechanisms that underpin the vascular actions of adiponectin and discusses the potential strategies of using adiponectin or its signalling pathways as therapeutic targets to combat obesity-related metabolic and vascular diseases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)361-374
Number of pages14
JournalClinical Science
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Adipokine
  • Adiponectin
  • Adiponectin receptor
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetic complication
  • Endothelial dysfunction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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