BACKGROUND: Adiponectin, an adipocyte-derived hormone, appears to be a modulator of lipid metabolism and systemic inflammation and is present in particularly low concentrations in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD). However, the clinical importance of adiponectin in individuals at markedly high risk for future cardiovascular morbidity and mortality has not been fully elucidated. We examined the associations between serum adiponectin and several biomarkers related to cardiovascular disease and heart failure in a large high-risk population comprising patients with prevalent CHD. METHODS: We measured fasting adiponectin, interleukin-6 (IL-6), high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP), and markers of lipoprotein metabolism in 1174 patients with angiographically documented CHD. RESULTS: After adjustment for age and sex, adiponectin was associated with HDL-cholesterol (HDL-C; r = 0.25; P <0.0001), NT-proBNP (r = 0.17; P <0.0001), and plasma triglyceride (r = -0.21; P <0.0001) concentrations. There was, however, no statistically significant association between adiponectin and markers of systemic inflammation. In partial correlation analyses further adjusted for body mass index, alcohol intake, smoking status, presence of diabetes and/or hypertension, lipid-lowering drug therapy, and fasting plasma glucose, adiponectin remained significantly associated with HDL-C (r = 0.21; P <0.0001), NT-proBNP (r = 0.15; P <0.0001), and plasma triglycerides (r = -0.16; P <0.0001). CONCLUSIONS: Serum adiponectin is associated with the presence of atherogenic dyslipidemia and with NT-proBNP concentration but not with markers of systemic inflammation in patients with manifest CHD. Thus, atherogenic dyslipidemia may link adiponectin with the progression of atherosclerosis. Moreover, serum adiponectin may be related to BNP in patients with CHD.