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Adiponectin is very different from TNF-a, IL-6, and PAI-1. It is synthesized and secreted almost exclusively by the adipocytes and is an anti-inflammatory cytokine. Levels of adiponectin are decreased in weight gain, obesity, and in those who are insulin resistant. Secretions of TNF-a and IL-6 reduce adipocyte secretion of adiponectin.

Adiponectin is a protective adipokine. It inhibits several steps in the inflammatory process and increases fatty acid oxidation. Adiponectin also decreases liver glucose production. Adiponectin slows and inhibits steps in plaque formation in blood vessels and is thus antiatherogenic.