How Randox R&D Scientists are helping to change healthcare: Investing in prevention rather than cure with the Adiponectin test


The theme this year for British Science Week is change. At Randox, our R&D Scientists are helping to change healthcare. By investing heavily into research and development to develop unique diagnostics tests, Randox provide doctors with the ability to identify disease risk sooner- offering the opportunity to prevent illness, rather than the need to find a cure.

One unique test by Randox, adiponectin, is becoming an increasingly significant biomarker for health professionals. Low levels have been linked with several illnesses including metabolic syndrome, cancer and cardiovascular disease.

What is adiponectin?

Adiponectin is a protein hormone produced and secreted by fat cells called adipose tissue. Adiponectin is normally found in relatively high concentrations in healthy individuals. Its role in the body is to regulate the metabolism of lipids and glucose, which influences the body’s response to insulin and inflammation.

Adiponectin and abdominal visceral fat

Adiponectin levels are inversely correlated with abdominal visceral fat, meaning that lower levels of adiponectin are related to higher amounts of visceral fat in the body.¹ Visceral fat is stored around vital organs and higher levels of this type of fat can be associated with a range of conditions including insulin resistance, high blood pressure and high levels of cholesterol. These factors can subsequently increase a patient’s chance of developing metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and in some cases cancer. In fact, it has been found that patients with high abdominal visceral fat or low adiponectin levels have a three-fold increased risk of insulin resistance, with a combination of both doubling this probability.2

Adiponectin as a biomarker

Due to the protective properties of adiponectin, for example in increasing insulin sensitivity or preventing atherosclerosis, adiponectin has been classified as novel and important for a number of reasons.3 A range of studies have demonstrated why adiponectin levels should be considered as a routine test.

Adiponectin and Type 2 Diabetes

Increasing evidence suggests adiponectin is a valid biomarker related to type 2 diabetes.  In fact, one study suggests that adiponectin is a powerful marker of diabetes risk in subjects at high risk.4 Decreased adiponectin has been found to be an independent risk factor for the progression of type 2 diabetes.5

Other evidence shows that adiponectin is also a beneficial measure of diabetes treatment response. A recent study has emerged which has found that dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors, which are used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, increase adiponectin levels and have a stronger effect in comparison to traditional oral antidiabetic drugs.6

Adiponectin and Gestational Diabetes

Adiponectin levels are also of interest during pregnancy. If a woman has lower adiponectin concentration during the first trimester of pregnancy, they are 3.5 times more likely to develop gestational diabetes.7,8

Adiponectin and Cardiovascular Disease

A range of evidence exists linking serum adiponectin concentration and cardiovascular diseases. Studies have found low levels of adiponectin can have an adverse effect, for example one study suggests adiponectin levels are an independent predictor of CHD in Caucasian men with no previous history of CHD.9 Low adiponectin concentrations have also been associated with myocardial infarction (a heart attack) in individuals below the age of 60, and also been linked with increased risk of new-onset hypertension in men and postmenopausal women.10,11

Adiponectin and Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)

Studies have also been conducted to examine the relationship between adiponectin and BPH. BPH is a common condition which is usually associated with men over 50 years of age and causes enlargement of the prostate. Higher adiponectin levels have been associated with reduced risk of BPH, as adiponectin has a protective effect in the progression of BPH.12,13,14

Adiponectin and Cancer

Lower levels of adiponectin have been found to increase the risk of endometrial cancer in women, and also prostate and pancreatic cancer in men.14,15 Researchers have been able to identify that serum adiponectin is inversely linked to the risk of obesity-associated cancers including endometrial cancer, renal cancer, postmenopausal breast cancer, colon cancer and leukaemia.16,17, 18


Why measure adiponectin?

As demonstrated above, the clinical significance of adiponectin is widely studied and has been linked to a range of diseases in which overweight or obese patients are proven to be at higher risk of developing. Measuring serum concentration of adiponectin to determine visceral fat levels is proven to be a more reliable indicator of at-risk patients in comparison to conventional methods of determining whether a patient is overweight or obese, such as body mass index (BMI) or measuring waist circumference.19

Our commitment to research and development ensures that unique tests, such as adiponectin, are available for use by health professionals. Scientists at Randox are continuing to change healthcare every day with their research to develop revolutionary diagnostic solutions. By placing a continual focus on assessing the risk of diseases rather than diagnosing the illness after it has occurred and providing patients with the tools to take preventative action, Randox are helping to change healthcare globally.

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  1. Kishida, K., Kim, K. K., Funshashi, T., Matsuzawa, Y., Kang, H. C., Shimomura, I. Relationships between circulating adiponectin levels and fat distribution in obese subjects. Journal of Atherosclerosis and Thrombosis18(7):592-595 (2011)
  2. Medina-Urrutia, A., Posadas-Romero, C., Posadas-Sánchez, R., Jorge-Galarza, E., Villarreal-Molina, T., González-Salazar, M. C., Cardoso-Saldaña, G., Vargas-Alarcón, G., Torres-Tamayo, M. and Juárez-Rojas, J. G. Role of adiponectin and free fatty acids on the association between abdominal visceral fat and insulin resistance. Cardiovascular Diabetology, vol. 14, no. 20 (2015).
  3. Chandran, M., Phillips, S. A., Ciaraldi, T., Henry, R. R. Adiponectin: More than just another fat cell hormone? Diabetes Care. 26(8): 2442-2450 (2003)
  4. Daimon, M., Oizumi, T., Saitoh, T., Kameda, W., Hirata, A., Yamaguchi, H., Ohnuma, H., Igarashi, M., Tominaga, M., Kato, T. and Funagata Study. Decreased serum levels of adiponectin are a risk factor for the progression to type 2 diabetes in the Japanese population. Diabetes Care, vol. 26, no. 7, p. 2015-2020 (2003).
  5. Mather, K. J., Funahashi, T., Matsuzawa, Y., Edelstein, S., Bray, G. A., Kahn, S. E., Crandall, J., Marcovina, S., Goldstein, B., Goldberg, R. and Diabetes Prevention Program. Adiponectin, change in adiponectin, and progression to diabetes in the Diabetes Prevention Program. Diabetes, vol. 57, no. 4, p. 980-986 (2008).
  6. Liu, X., Men, P., Wang, Y., Zhai, S., Liu, G. Impact of dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors on serum adiponectin: a meta-analysis. Lipids in Health and Disease. 15:204 (2016)
  7. Lacroix, M., Battista, M.C., Doyon, M., Ménard, J., Ardilouze, J.L., Perron, P. and Hivert M. F. Lower adiponectin levels at first trimester of pregnancy are associated with increased insulin resistance and higher risk of developing gestational diabetes mellitus. Diabetes Care, vol. 36, no. 6, p. 1577-83 (2013).
  8. Hedderson, M. M., Darbinian, J., Havel, P. J., Quesenberry, C. P., Sridhar, S., Ehrlich, S. and Ferrara, A. Low prepregnancy adiponectin concentrations are associated with a marked increase in risk for development of gestational diabetes mellitus. Diabetes Care, vol. 36, no. 12, p. 3930-7 (2013).
  9. Tsimikas, S., Mallat, Z., MD, Talmud, P. J., Kastelein, J. J. P., Wareham, N. J., Sandhu, M. S., Miller, E. R., Benessiano, J., Tedgui, A., Witztum, J. L., Khaw, K. T. and Boekholdt, S. M. (2010). Oxidation-Specific Biomarkers, Lipoprotein(a), and Risk of Fatal and Nonfatal Coronary Events. JACC. 56:12, p. 946-955.
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  12. Fu, S., Xu, H., Gu,M., Liu, C., Wang, Q., Wan, X., Chen, Y., Chen, Q., Peng, Y., Cai, Z., Zhou, J. and Wang, Z. Adiponectin deficiency contributes to the development and progression of benign prostatic hyperplasia in obesity. Available from: 10.1038/srep43771
  13. Schenk, J. M., Kristal, A.R., Neuhouser, M.L., Tangen, C.M., White, E., Lin, D.W., Thompson, I.M. Serum adiponectin, C-peptide and Leptin and Risk of Symptomatic Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia: Results from the Prostate Cancer Prevention Trial. The Prostate, Vol 69 Issue 12 pp.1-15 (2009) Available from: 10.1002/pros.2097
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  19. Messier V, Karelis AD, Prud’homme D, Primeau V, Brochu M, Rabasa-Lhoret R. Identifying metabolically healthy but obese individuals in sedentary postmenopausal women. Obesity, vol. 18, pp. 911-7 (2010).

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