Relationship of Serum Adiponectin and Leptin Concentrations with Body Fat Distribution in Humans


Medizinische Klinik der Universität, Otfried-Müller-Str. 10, D-72076 Tübingen, Germany. E-mail:


Objective: We investigated whether serum concentrations of adiponectin are determined by body fat distribution and compared the findings with leptin.

Research Methods and Procedures: Serum concentrations of adiponectin and leptin were measured by radioimmunoassay (n = 394) and analyzed for correlation with sex, age, and body fat distribution, i.e., waist-to-hip ratio, waist and hip circumference, and subcutaneous adipose tissue area of the lower leg as assessed by magnetic resonance imaging.

Results: After adjusting for sex and percentage of body fat, adiponectin was negatively (r = −0.17, p < 0.001) and leptin was positively (r = 0.22, p < 0.001) correlated with waist-to-hip ratio. Leptin, but not adiponectin, correlated with both waist (r = 0.49, p < 0.001) and hip circumference (r = 0.46, p < 0.001). Furthermore, leptin, but not adiponectin, correlated with the proportion of subcutaneous fat of the lower leg cross-sectional area (r = 0.37, p < 0.001).

Discussion: These data suggest that both adipocytokines are associated with central body fat distribution, and serum adiponectin concentrations are determined predominantly by the visceral fat compartment.