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Acetaldehyde, an inhibitor of mitochondrial function, has been widely used as a neurotoxin because it elicits a severe Parkinson's disease-like syndrome with elevation of the intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) level and apoptosis. Adiponectin, secreted from adipose tissue, mediates systemic insulin sensitivity with liver and muscle as target organs. In this study, we investigated the protective effects of adiponectin on acetaldehyde-induced apoptosis in human neuroblastoma SH-SY5Y cells and attempted to examine its mechanism. Acetaldehyde-induced apoptosis was moderately reversed by adiponectin treatment. Our results suggest that the protective effects of adiponectin on acetaldehyde-induced apoptosis may be ascribed to ability to induce the expression of anti-oxidant enzymes and to regulate Bcl-2 and Bax expression. These data indicate that adiponectin may provide a useful therapeutic strategy for the prevention of progressive neurodegenerative disease such as Parkinson's disease.