We isolated the human adipose-specific and most abundant gene transcript, apM1 (Maeda, K., et al., Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 221, 286-289, 1996). The apM1 gene product was a kind of soluble matrix protein, which we named adiponectin. To quantitate the plasma adiponectin concentration, we have produced monoclonal and polyclonal antibodies for human adiponectin and developed an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) system. Adiponectin was abundantly present in the plasma of healthy volunteers in the range from 1.9 to 17.0 mg/ml. Plasma concentrations of adiponectin in obese subjects were significantly lower than those in non-obese subjects, although adiponectin is secreted only from adipose tissue. The ELISA system developed in this study will be useful for elucidating the physiological and pathophysiological role of adiponectin in humans. Copyright 1999 Academic Press.