Adiponectin (APN), a major adipokine secreted from white adipose tissue, prevents inflammation and improves insulin sensitivity. APN exists as distinct multimeric complexes with different physiological activities, including low, middle and high molecular weight complexes (LMW, MMW and HMW, respectively) in peripheral blood. Caloric restriction (CR), an intervention that suppresses aging-related pathophysiological changes and extends lifespan, reportedly elevates the expression levels of Adipoq (encoding APN) and total circulating APN. Circulating APN levels have generally been measured using ELISA, but ELISA fails to directly and separately detect APN multimeric complexes other than HMW. Here, we aimed to evaluate the association of aging and CR with oligomerization of APN in rodent models, using immunoblotting to distinguish multimeric complexes based on molecular sizes. In mice, aging elevated plasma levels of HMW and MMW, while CR only elevated HMW. In contrast, LMW and monomeric APN levels were unchanged, suggesting that aging and CR can induce the assembly of APN oligomers in adipocytes. In rats, plasma levels of all multimeric complexes and monomeric APN were not significantly changed by aging or CR. Collectively, levels of circulating APN in mice were consistent with previous findings, whereas those of rats were partially inconsistent, probably because of experimental differences. Moreover, aging reduced Adipoq mRNA levels in mice and rats, while CR prevented this reduction only in rats. Such a discrepancy between Adipoq expression and circulating APN levels may be attributed to proteasomal regulation in adipocytes or tissue accumulation of APN. In conclusion, this study provides new findings of aging- and CR-related changes of each APN multimeric complex and underscores the importance of qualitative approaches for a greater understanding of physiological changes in APN.
- Caloric restriction