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Journal of Obesity
Volume 2010, Article ID 748048, 6 pages
Research Article

The Role of Adipokines in Understanding the Associations between Obesity and Depression

1Mood Disorders Program, Centre for Mountain Health Services, McMaster University, D150-A, 100 West 5th Street, St. Joseph's Healthcare, Hamilton, ON, Canada L8N 3K7
2University of Calgary, 2500 University Drive Northwest Calgary, Calgary, AB, Canada T2N 1N4

Received 2 November 2009; Revised 26 May 2010; Accepted 16 June 2010

Academic Editor: Gianluca Iacobellis

Copyright © 2010 Valerie H. Taylor and Glenda M. MacQueen. 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.


Objective. Two major causes of disability, major depression and obesity, share overlapping psychosocial and pathophysiological etiologies. Studies are now focused on biological mechanisms linking the two illnesses, and there is interest in the role that adipokines may have in mediating the association between obesity and depression. We reviewed the literature to look at what is currently known about this association, focusing on the adipokines leptin, adiponectin, and resistin. Methods. A MEDLINE search, citing articles from 1966 onward, supplemented by a review of bibliographies, was conducted to identify relevant studies. Results. This paper identified plausible pathways underlying a link between adipokines and depression. Only a few studies have yet been conducted specifically examining these biomarkers in patients with depression, but the results are intriguing. Conclusion. This paper is one of the first to examine the association between adipokines and depression. It provides an overview of the physiological role of adipokines and summarizes the data suggesting that they may be dysregulated in major depression. This area of research may become increasingly important as new treatment strategies are developed.