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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 658913, 14 pages
Review Article

New Insight into Adiponectin Role in Obesity and Obesity-Related Diseases

1CEINGE-Biotecnologie Avanzate Scarl, Via Salvatore 486, 80145 Napoli, Italy
2Dipartimento di Medicina Molecolare e Biotecnologie Mediche, Università degli Studi di Napoli Federico II, Via De Amicis 95, 80131 Napoli, Italy
3Dipartimento di Scienze Cardio-Toraciche e Respiratorie, Seconda Università degli Studi di Napoli, Via Bianchi 1, 80131 Napoli, Italy
4Cattedra di Malattie dell’Apparato Visivo, Dipartimento di Medicina e Scienze della Salute, Università del Molise, Via De Sanctis 1, 86100 Campobasso, Italy
5Cattedra di Malattie dell’Apparato Respiratorio, Dipartimento di Medicina e Scienze della Salute, Università del Molise, Via De Sanctis 1, 86100 Campobasso, Italy
6Dipartimento di Scienze e Tecnologie Ambientali Biologiche Farmaceutiche, Seconda Università degli Studi di Napoli, Via Vivaldi 42, 81100 Caserta, Italy

Received 2 April 2014; Accepted 12 June 2014; Published 7 July 2014

Academic Editor: Beverly Muhlhausler

Copyright © 2014 Ersilia Nigro et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Obesity is a major health problem strongly increasing the risk for various severe related complications such as metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular diseases, respiratory disorders, diabetic retinopathy, and cancer. Adipose tissue is an endocrine organ that produces biologically active molecules defined “adipocytokines,” protein hormones with pleiotropic functions involved in the regulation of energy metabolism as well as in appetite, insulin sensitivity, inflammation, atherosclerosis, cell proliferation, and so forth. In obesity, fat accumulation causes dysregulation of adipokine production that strongly contributes to the onset of obesity-related diseases. Several advances have been made in the treatment and prevention of obesity but current medical therapies are often unsuccessful even in compliant patients. Among the adipokines, adiponectin shows protective activity in various processes such as energy metabolism, inflammation, and cell proliferation. In this review, we will focus on the current knowledge regarding the protective properties of adiponectin and its receptors, AdipoRs (“adiponectin system”), on metabolic complications in obesity and obesity-related diseases. Adiponectin, exhibiting antihyperglycemic, antiatherogenic, and anti-inflammatory properties, could have important clinical benefits in terms of development of therapies for the prevention and/or for the treatment of obesity and obesity-related diseases.