Résumé : AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: Increased intra-abdominal fat is associated with insulin resistance and an atherogenic lipoprotein profile. Circulating concentrations of adiponectin, an adipocyte-derived protein, are decreased with insulin resistance. We investigated the relationships between adiponectin and leptin, body fat distribution, insulin sensitivity and lipoproteins. METHODS: We measured plasma adiponectin, leptin and lipid concentrations, intra-abdominal and subcutaneous fat areas by CT scan, and insulin sensitivity index (S(I)) in 182 subjects (76 M/106F). RESULTS: Adiponectin concentrations were higher in women than in men (7.4+/-2.9 vs 5.4+/-2.3 micro g/ml, p<0.0001) as were leptin concentrations (19.1+/-13.7 vs 6.9+/-5.1 ng/ml, p<0.0001). Women were more insulin sensitive (S(I): 6.8+/-3.9 vs 5.9+/-4.4 x 10(-5) min(-1)/(pmol/l), p<0.01) and had more subcutaneous (240+/-133 vs 187+/-90 cm(2), p<0.01), but less intra-abdominal fat (82+/-57 vs 124+/-68 cm(2), p<0.0001). By simple regression, adiponectin was positively correlated with age ( r=0.227, p<0.01) and S(I) ( r=0.375, p<0.0001), and negatively correlated with BMI ( r=-0.333, p<0.0001), subcutaneous ( r=-0.168, p<0.05) and intra-abdominal fat ( r=-0.35, p<0.0001). Adiponectin was negatively correlated with triglycerides ( r=-0.281, p<0.001) and positively correlated with HDL cholesterol ( r=0.605, p<0.0001) and Rf, a measure of LDL particle buoyancy ( r=0.474, p<0.0001). By multiple regression analysis, adiponectin was related to age ( p<0.0001), sex ( p<0.005) and intra-abdominal fat ( p<0.01). S(I) was related to intra-abdominal fat ( p<0.0001) and adiponectin ( p<0.0005). Both intra-abdominal fat and adiponectin contributed independently to triglycerides, HDL cholesterol and Rf. CONCLUSION/INTERPRETATION: These data suggest that adiponectin concentrations are determined by intra-abdominal fat mass, with additional independent effects of age and sex. Adiponectin could link intra-abdominal fat with insulin resistance and an atherogenic lipoprotein profile.