Adiponectin is a novel, adipose-specific protein abundantly present in the circulation, and it has antiatherogenic properties. We analyzed the plasma adiponectin concentrations in age- and body mass index (BMI)-matched nondiabetic and type 2 diabetic subjects with and without coronary artery disease (CAD). Plasma levels of adiponectin in the diabetic subjects without CAD were lower than those in nondiabetic subjects (6.6+/-0.4 versus 7.9+/-0.5 microg/mL in men, 7.6+/-0.7 versus 11.7+/-1.0 microg/mL in women; P<0.001). The plasma adiponectin concentrations of diabetic patients with CAD were lower than those of diabetic patients without CAD (4.0+/-0.4 versus 6.6+/-0.4 microg/mL, P<0.001 in men; 6.3+/-0.8 versus 7.6+/-0. 7 microg/mL in women). In contrast, plasma levels of leptin did not differ between diabetic patients with and without CAD. The presence of microangiopathy did not affect the plasma adiponectin levels in diabetic patients. Significant, univariate, inverse correlations were observed between adiponectin levels and fasting plasma insulin (r=-0.18, P<0.01) and glucose (r=-0.26, P<0.001) levels. In multivariate analysis, plasma insulin did not independently affect the plasma adiponectin levels. BMI, serum triglyceride concentration, and the presence of diabetes or CAD remained significantly related to plasma adiponectin concentrations. Weight reduction significantly elevated plasma adiponectin levels in the diabetic subjects as well as the nondiabetic subjects. These results suggest that the decreased plasma adiponectin concentrations in diabetes may be an indicator of macroangiopathy.