In obesity, the expansion of dysfunctional adipose tissue leads to augmented production of pro-inflammatory adipokines that mediate metabolic changes through their paracrine and/or endocrine actions. By contrast, the secretion and plasma concentration of adiponectin, an adipokine with
cardiovascular protective, anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory properties, are markedly decreased in obesity and its related pathologies. Epidemiological studies on different ethnic groups have identified hypoadiponectinemia as an independent risk factor for type 2 diabetes, hypertension,
coronary heart disease and several types of cancers. In animals, replenishment of recombinant adiponectin or transgenic expression of adiponectin can reverse these obesity-related pathological conditions. Although there is currently no direct clinical evidence demonstrating that adiponectin
is effective in treating obesity-related cardiometabolic diseases, therapeutic benefits of several anti-diabetic and cardiovascular drugs, such as the agonists of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) and PPAR and statins, are associated with increased plasma adiponectin in humans.
In addition, a number of medicinal herbs and natural compounds with beneficial effects on cardiometabolic diseases, have been shown to increase adiponectin secretion in adipocytes. This review highlights recent advances on multiple beneficial effects of adiponectin and discusses the potential
therapeutic interventions for obesity-related cardiometabolic syndromes by targeting adiponectin.
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