Adiponectin as novel key player in tumors of adrenal glands – what do we know? A review

Joanna Estera Szydełko, Michał Litwińczuk, Magdalena Szydełko, Beata Matyjaszek-Matuszek


Introduction: Adrenal incidentalomas without clinically apparent hormonal activities have becoming a huge socio-economic problem due to recent advances in radiological techniques. Patients with incidentalomas are considered to be at high risk of developing metabolic disorders and cardiovascular diseases. That is why, the two-way relationship between adipose tissue activity and adrenal glands is in high interest and an object of extensively studies.
Aim of the study: This article summarizes the current knowledge about adiponectin and its receptors in the tumorigenesis of adrenal neoplasia as well as their role in the developing obesity-related diseases.
Description of knowledge: Adiponectin, an adipose tissue-derived pleiotropic hormone, with anti-inflammatory, anti-atherogenic, anti-diabetic, and insulin-sensitizing properties is engaged in developing diabetes mellitus type 2, hypertension or ischemic heart disease, but the latest researches also revealed its role in tumor cells proliferation and angiogenesis. The possible effects of adiponectin and its two receptors in both physiological processes and pathophysiology of adrenal glands is not fully understood. Recent studies suggested that adiponectin receptors expression is significantly higher in hormonally active adrenal tumors as compared to normal tissues of adrenal glands, which may prove the involving of adipose tissue and periadrenal fat depot in regulating the function of adrenal cortex or medulla.
Conclusions: Adiponectin may be predictive factor of developing metabolic disorders in the group of patients with accidentally detected adrenal lesions. The discovering of its exact mechanism may result in modifying novel screening options as well as diagnostic process and treatment scheme. Therefore, further research is required to determine the effect of adiponectin and its role in the pathogenesis of obesity-related diseases in the course of adrenal tumors.


adiponectin; incidentaloma; adrenal glands; metabolic disorders

Full Text:



Bednarczuk T, Bolanowski M, Sworczak K, Górnicka B, Cieszanowski A, Otto M, et al. Adrenal incidentaloma in adults - management recommendations by the Polish Society of Endocrinology. Endokrynol Pol. 2016;67(2):234-258. doi: 10.5603/EP.a2016.0039.

Bhat HS, Tiyadath BN. Management of Adrenal Masses. Indian J Surg Oncol. 2017;8(1):67-73. doi: 10.1007/s13193-016-0597-y.

Bittner JG, Brunt LM. Evaluation and management of adrenal incidentaloma. J Surg Oncol. 2012;106(5):557-564. doi: 10.1002/jso.23161.

Cichocki A, Samsel R, Papierska L, Roszkowska-Purska K, Nowak K, Jodkiewicz Z, et al. Adrenal tumour bigger than 5 cm - what could it be? An analysis of 139 cases. Endokrynol Pol. 2017;68(4):411-415. doi: 10.5603/EP.a2017.0039.

Androulakis II, Kaltsas G, Piaditis G, Grossman AB. The clinical significance of adrenal incidentalomas. Eur J Clin Invest. 2011;41(5):552-560. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2362.2010.02436.x.

Griffing GT. A-I-D-S: the new endocrine epidemic. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1994;79(6):1530-1531.

Babińska A, Siekierska-Hellmann M, Błaut K, Lewczuk A, Wiśniewski P, Gnacińska M, et al. Hormonal activity in clinically silent adrenal incidentalomas. Arch Med Sci. 2012;8(1):97-103. doi: 10.5114/aoms.2012.27288.

Mannelli M, Lenders JW, Pacak K, Parenti G, Eisenhofer G. Subclinical phaeochromocytoma. Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2012;26(4):507-515. doi: 10.1016/j.beem.2011.10.008.

Libè R, Dall'Asta C, Barbetta L, Baccarelli A, Beck-Peccoz P, Ambrosi B. Long-term follow-up study of patients with adrenal incidentalomas. Eur J Endocrinol. 2002;147(4):489-494.

Elenkova A, Matrozova J, Zacharieva S, Kirilov G, Kalinov K. Adiponectin - A possible factor in the pathogenesis of carbohydrate metabolism disturbances in patients with pheochromocytoma. Cytokine. 2010;50(3):306-310. doi: 10.1016/j.cyto.2010.03.011.

Emral R, Aydoğan Bİ, Köse AD, Demir Ö, Çorapçıoğlu D. Could a nonfunctional adrenal incidentaloma be a risk factor for increased carotid intima-media thickness and metabolic syndrome. Endocrinol Diabetes Nutr. 2019; pii: S2530-0164(19)30037-0. doi: 10.1016/j.endinu.2019.01.007.

Tuna MM, Imga NN, Doğan BA, Yılmaz FM, Topçuoğlu C, Akbaba G, et al. Non-functioning adrenal incidentalomas are associated with higher hypertension prevalence and higher risk of atherosclerosis. J Endocrinol Invest. 2014;37(8):765-768. doi: 10.1007/s40618-014-0106-5.

Dogruk Unal A, Ayturk S, Aldemir D, Bascil Tutuncu N. Serum Adiponectin Level as a Predictor of Subclinical Cushing's Syndrome in Patients with Adrenal Incidentaloma. Int J Endocrinol. 2016;2016:8519362. doi: 10.1155/2016/8519362.

Babinska A, Kaszubowski M, Sworczak K. Adipokine and cytokine levels in non-functioning adrenal incidentalomas (NFAI). Endocr J. 2018;65(8):849-858. doi: 10.1507/endocrj.EJ18-0066.

Taya M, Paroder V, Bellin E, Haramati LB. The relationship between adrenal incidentalomas and mortality risk. Eur Radiol. 2019. doi: 10.1007/s00330-019-06202-y.

Di Dalmazi G, Vicennati V, Garelli S, Casadio E, Rinaldi E, Giampalma E, et al. Cardiovascular events and mortality in patients with adrenal incidentalomas that are either non-secreting or associated with intermediate phenotype or subclinical Cushing's syndrome: a 15-year retrospective study. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2014;2(5):396-405. doi: 10.1016/S2213-8587(13)70211-0.

Prins JB. Adipose tissue as an endocrine organ. Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2002;16(4):639-651.

Smitka K, Marešová D. Adipose Tissue as an Endocrine Organ: An Update on Pro-inflammatory and Anti-inflammatory Microenvironment. Prague Med Rep. 2015;116(2):87-111. doi: 10.14712/23362936.2015.49.

Kargi AY, Iacobellis G. Adipose tissue and adrenal glands: novel pathophysiological mechanisms and clinical applications. Int J Endocrinol. 2014;2014:614074. doi: 10.1155/2014/614074.

Ramanjaneya M, Conner AC, Brown JE, Chen J, Digby JE, Barber TM, et al. Adiponectin (15-36) stimulates steroidogenic acute regulatory (StAR) protein expression and cortisol production in human adrenocortical cells: role of AMPK and MAPK kinase pathways. Biochim Biophys Acta. 2011;1813(5):802-809. doi: 10.1016/j.bbamcr.2011.02.010.

Rossi GP, Sticchi D, Giuliani L, Bernante P, Zavattiero S, Pessina AC, et al. Adiponectin receptor expression in the human adrenal cortex and aldosterone-producing adenomas. Int J Mol Med. 2006;17(6):975-980.

Li P, Sun F, Cao HM, Ma QY, Pan CM, Ma JH, et al. Expression of adiponectin receptors in mouse adrenal glands and the adrenocortical Y-1 cell line: adiponectin regulates steroidogenesis. Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2009;390(4):1208-1213. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2009.10.122.

Paschke L, Zemleduch T, Rucinski M, Ziolkowska A, Szyszka M, Malendowicz LK. Adiponectin and adiponectin receptor system in the rat adrenal gland: ontogenetic and physiologic regulation, and its involvement in regulating adrenocortical growth and steroidogenesis. Peptides. 2010;31(9):1715-1724. doi: 10.1016/j.peptides.2010.06.007.

Chou SH, Tseleni-Balafouta S, Moon HS, Chamberland JP, Liu X, Kavantzas N, et al. Adiponectin receptor expression in human malignant tissues. Horm Cancer. 2010;1(3):136-145. doi: 10.1007/s12672-010-0017-7.

Babińska A, Pȩksa R, Światkowska-Stodulska R, Wiśniewski P, Sworczak K. Expression of adiponectin and leptin receptors in adrenal incidentaloma patients with subclinical hormone secretion. Cancer Biomark. 2018;22(2):325-332. doi: 10.3233/CBM-171049.

Babińska A, Pęksa R, Wiśniewski P, Świątkowska-Stodulska R, Sworczak K. Diagnostic and prognostic role of SF1, IGF2, Ki67, p53, adiponectin, and leptin receptors in human adrenal cortical tumors. J Surg Oncol. 2017;116(3):427-433. doi: 10.1002/jso.24665.

Isobe K, Fu L, Tatsuno I, Takahashi H, Nissato S, Hara H, et al. Adiponectin and adiponectin receptors in human pheochromocytoma. J Atheroscler Thromb. 2009;16(4):442-447.

Ehrhart-Bornstein M, Lamounier-Zepter V, Schraven A, Langenbach J, Willenberg HS, Barthel A, et al. Human adipocytes secrete mineralocorticoid-releasing factors. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003;100(24):14211-14216.

Ehrhart-Bornstein M, Arakelyan K, Krug AW, Scherbaum WA, Bornstein SR. Fat cells may be the obesity-hypertension link: human adipogenic factors stimulate aldosterone secretion from adrenocortical cells. Endocr Res. 2004;30(4):865-870.

Ermetici F, Malavazos AE, Corbetta S, Morricone L, Dall'Asta C, Corsi MM, et al. Adipokine levels and cardiovascular risk in patients with adrenal incidentaloma. Metabolism. 2007;56(5):686-692. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2006.12.018.

Letizia C, Petramala L, Di Gioia CR, Chiappetta C, Zinnamosca L, Marinelli C, et al. Leptin and adiponectin mRNA expression from the adipose tissue surrounding the adrenal neoplasia. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2015;100(1):E101-104. doi: 10.1210/jc.2014-2274.

Lazúrová I, Spišáková D, Wagnerová H, Habalová V, Dravecká I, Darina P, et al. Clinically silent adrenal adenomas - their relation to the metabolic syndrome and to GNB3 C825T gene polymorphism. Wien Klin Wochenschr. 2011;123(19-20):618-622. doi: 10.1007/s00508-011-0064-2.

Reincke M, Beuschlein F, Slawik M, Borm K. Molecular adrenocortical tumourigenesis. Eur J Clin Invest. 2000;30 Suppl 3:63-68.

Akkus G, Evran M, Sert M, Tetiker T. Adipocytokines in Non-functional Adrenal Incidentalomas and Relation with Insulin Resistance Parameters. Endocr Metab Immune Disord Drug Targets. 2019;19(3):326-332. doi: 10.2174/1871530318666181009112042.

Ashizawa N, Takagi M, Seto S, Suzuki S, Yano K. Serum adiponectin and leptin in a patient with Cushing's syndrome before and after adrenalectomy. Intern Med. 2007;46(7):383-385.

Makimura H, Mizuno TM, Bergen H, Mobbs CV. Adiponectin is stimulated by adrenalectomy in ob/ob mice and is highly correlated with resistin mRNA. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2002;283(6):E1266-1271. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00227.2002.

Okauchi Y, Ishibashi C, Shu K, Adachi S, Mineo I. Decreased Serum Adiponectin Level during Catecholamine Crisis in an Obese Patient with Pheochromocytoma. Intern Med. 2018;57(9):1253-1257. doi: 10.2169/internalmedicine.9089-17.

Bosanska L, Petrak O, Zelinka T, Mraz M, Widimsky J Jr, Haluzik M. The effect of pheochromocytoma treatment on subclinical inflammation and endocrine function of adipose tissue. Physiol Res. 2009;58(3):319-325.

Monticone S, Burrello J, Tizzani D, Bertello C, Viola A, Buffolo F, et al. Prevalence and Clinical Manifestations of Primary Aldosteronism Encountered in Primary Care Practice. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2017;69(14):1811-1820. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2017.01.052.

Dick SM, Queiroz M, Bernardi BL, Dall'Agnol A, Brondani LA, Silveiro SP. Update in diagnosis and management of primary aldosteronism. Clin Chem Lab Med. 2018;56(3):360-372. doi: 10.1515/cclm-2017-0217.

Urbanet R, Pilon C, Calcagno A, Peschechera A, Hubert EL, Giacchetti G, et al. Analysis of insulin sensitivity in adipose tissue of patients with primary aldosteronism. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010;95(8):4037-4042. doi: 10.1210/jc.2010-0097.

Rojas E, Rodríguez-Molina D, Bolli P, Israili ZH, Faría J, Fidilio E, et al. The role of adiponectin in endothelial dysfunction and hypertension. Curr Hypertens Rep. 2014;16(8):463. doi: 10.1007/s11906-014-0463-7.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2019 © The Author(s)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

Journal of Education, Health and Sport formerly Journal of Health Sciences

Declaration on the original version.

Editors indicates that the main version of the magazine is to issue a "electronic".

The journal has had 5 points in Ministry of Science and Higher Education parametric evaluation. § 8. 2) and § 12. 1. 2) 22.02.2019.

1223 Journal of Education, Health and Sport eISSN 2391-8306 7

ISSN 2391-8306 formerly ISSN: 1429-9623 / 2300-665X

Archives 2011 - 2014

PBN 2011 - 2014

POL-index 2011 - 2014

BASE 2011 - 2014

Indexed in Bases, Bazy indeksacyjne: ERIH Plus, Worldcat, PBN/POL-Index, ICI Journals Master List, Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ), ZBD, Ulrich's periodicals, Google Scholar, Polska Bibliografia Lekarska

US NLM = 101679844

101679844 - NLM Catalog Result - NCBI

Find a library that holds this journal:

Journal Language(s): English 

PBN Poland



Redaction, Publisher and Editorial Office

Instytut Kultury Fizycznej Uniwersytet Kazimierza Wielkiego w Bydgoszczy, Institute of Physical Education Kazimierz Wielki University in Bydgoszcz, Poland 85-091 Bydgoszcz ul. Sportowa 2 Copyright by Instytut Kultury Fizycznej UKW w Bydgoszczy  Open Access ISSN 2391-8306 formerly ISSN: 1429-9623 / 2300-665X

The journal has been approved for inclusion in ERIH PLUS.

The ERIH PLUS listing of the journal is available at

SIC Science citation index (calculated on the basis of TCI and Page Rank) 0

Russian Impact factor 0.16

Indexed in Index Copernicus Journals Master List.,p24782242,3.html

ICV 2018 = 95.95 ICV 2017 = 91.30 ICV 2016 = 84.69 ICV 2015 = 93.34 ICV 2014 = 89.51 Standardized Value: 8.27 ICV 2013: 7.32 ICV 2012: 6.41 ICV 20115.48

The InfoBase Index IBI Factor for the year 2015 is 3.56 in InfoBase


Universal Impact Factor 1.78 for year 2012. (

Indexed in Polish Scholarly Bibliography (PBN) (PBN Polska Bibliografia Naukowa) (

is a portal of the Polish Ministry of Science and Higher Education, collecting information on publications of Polish scientists and on Polish and foreign scholarly journals. Polish Scholarly Bibliograhpy is a part of POL-on - System of Information on Higher Education. It is operated by the Interdisciplinary Centre for Mathematical and Computational Modelling, University of Warsaw.

Indexed in Russian Sciences Index Российский индекс научного цитирования (РИНЦ)

Indexed in Arianta Polish scientific and professional electronic journals Aneta Drabek i Arkadiusz Pulikowski