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The adipokines, or adipocytokines (Greek adipo-, fat; cytos-, cell; and -kinos, movement) are cytokines (cell signaling proteins) secreted by adipose tissue. The first adipokine to be discovered was leptin in 1994.[1] Since that time hundreds of adipokines have been discovered.[2]

Members include:

In addition, interleukin 8 (IL-8), interleukin 10 (IL-10), interferon gamma (IFN-γ) and inducible protein 10 (IP-10 or CXCL10) have been shown to be associated with excessive body weight.[7]


As of 2008, the current terminology refers to a cytokine as an immunomodulating agent. However, conflicting data exists about what is termed a cytokine and what is termed a hormone and more research is needed in this area of defining cytokines and hormones. Under the current terminology, adiponectin, leptin (Ob ligand), and resistin are not appropriately considered adipokines (cytokines) as they do not act on the immune system. (Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine). Often, these peptides (adiponectin, leptin, and resistin) are referred to as adipokines, however they can be more accurately put into the larger, growing list of adipose-derived hormones.


  1. ^ Conde J, Scotece M, Gómez R, López V, Gómez-Reino JJ, Lago F, Gualillo O (2011). "Adipokines: biofactors from white adipose tissue. A complex hub among inflammation, metabolism, and immunity". BIOFACTORS 37 (6): 413–420. doi:10.1002/biof.185. PMID 22038756. 
  2. ^ Lehr S, Hartwig S, Sell H (2012). "Adipokines: a treasure trove for the discovery of biomarkers for metabolic disorders". PROTEOMICS. CLINICAL APPLICATIONS. 6 (1-2): 91–101. doi:10.1002/prca.201100052. PMID 22213627. 
  3. ^ Guo L, Li Q, Wang W, Yu P, Pan H, Li P, Sun Y, Zhang J. Endocr Res. 2009;34(4):142-54.
  4. ^ MacDougald1, Ormond A. and Burant, Charles F. (September 2007) "The Rapidly Expanding Family of Adipokines" Cell Metabolism 6: pp. 159-161
  5. ^ Monzillo, Lais U. (2003) "Effect of Lifestyle Modification on Adipokine Levels in Obese Subjects with Insulin Resistance" Obesity Research 11(9): pp. 1048-1054
  6. ^ Christiansen T., Richelsen B., and Bruun J.M. (2005) "Monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 is produced in isolated adipocytes, associated with adiposity and reduced after weight loss in morbid obese subjects" International Journal of Obesity 29: pp. 146–150
  7. ^ Sharabiani, MT; Vermeulen R, Scoccianti C, Hosnijeh FS, Minelli L, Sacerdote C, Palli D, Krogh V, Tumino R, Chiodini P, Panico S, Vineis P. (May 2011). "Immunologic profile of excessive body weight". Biomarkers 16 (3): 243–51. doi:10.3109/1354750X.2010.547948. PMID 21506696. 

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