Adiponectin is negatively associated with leptin, insulin and obesity in children and adults. Whereas increases in fetal insulin and leptin are associated with increased weight and adiposity at birth, the role of adiponectin in fetal growth has not yet been determined. The aims of this study were to examine the relationships between adiponectin and insulin, leptin, weight and adiposity at birth in healthy term infants.
Anthropometric parameters including weight, length, circumferences and skinfold thickness were measured, and plasma lipid profiles, insulin, leptin and adiponectin concentrations in cord blood samples from 226 singleton infants born at term after uncomplicated pregnancies were assayed.
Cord plasma adiponectin, leptin and insulin levels correlated significantly and positively with birthweight (P = 0.001, P < 0.001, P < 0.001, respectively) and the sum of skinfold thicknesses (P < 0.001, P < 0.001, P < 0.001, respectively). Mean cord plasma adiponectin and leptin levels, but not insulin level, were significantly higher in large-for-gestational-age (LGA) infants compared with appropriate-for-gestational-age (AGA) infants. Cord plasma leptin concentration, but not adiponectin concentration, was significantly higher in female infants than in male infants (P = 0.003 and P = 0.94, respectively). Cord plasma adiponectin concentration correlated positively with leptin level (P = 0.007) but not with insulin level (P = 0.78).
High adiponectin levels are present in the cord blood. Cord plasma adiponectin and leptin levels are positively correlated with birthweight and adiposity. This suggests that adiponectin may be involved in regulating fetal growth.