Isolation and quantitation of adiponectin higher order complexes

Joseph M. Rutkowski, Philipp E. Scherer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

8 Scopus citations


Adiponectin is a circulating bioactive hormone secreted by adipocytes as oligomers ranging in size from 90 kDa trimers and 180 kDa hexamers to larger high molecular weight oligomers that may reach 18- or 36-mers in size. While total circulating adiponectin levels correlate well with metabolic health, it is the relative distribution of adiponectin complexes that is most clinically relevant to glucose sensitivity and inflammation. High molecular weight adiponectin best mirrors insulin sensitivity, while trimeric adiponectin dominates with insulin resistance and adipose tissue inflammation. Experimental animal and in vitro models have also linked the relative fraction of high molecular weight adiponectin to its positive effects. Quantitating adiponectin size distribution thus provides a window into metabolic health and can serve as a surrogate marker for adipose tissue fitness. Here, we present a detailed protocol for isolating and quantitating adiponectin complexes in serum or plasma that has been extensively utilized for both human clinical samples and numerous animal models under various experimental conditions. Examples are presented of different adiponectin distributions and tips are provided for optimization using available equipment. Comparison of this rigorous approach to other available methods is also discussed. In total, this summary is a blueprint for the expanded quantitation and study of adiponectin complexes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMethods of Adipose Tissue Biology, Part A
PublisherAcademic Press Inc.
Number of pages17
ISBN (Print)9780124116191
StatePublished - 2014

Publication series

NameMethods in Enzymology
ISSN (Print)0076-6879
ISSN (Electronic)1557-7988


  • Adipokine
  • Adiponectin
  • Complex distribution
  • Gel fractionation
  • HMW
  • LMW
  • Oligomer
  • Trimer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology


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