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Adipose tissue is considered an endocrine organ that secretes adipokines, which possibly mediate the effects of obesity on the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, there are yet limited prospective data on the association between circulating adipokine levels and the risk of ischemic stroke. We aimed to examine the associations of 3 adipokines (adiponectin, leptin, and resistin) with the risk of ischemic stroke.We conducted a prospective nested case–control study (972 stroke cases and 972 matched control subjects) within the Women's Health Initiative Observational Study cohort. The control subjects were matched to cases on age, race/ethnicity, date of study enrollment, and follow-up time.Adipokine levels were associated with established stroke risk factors such as obesity and systolic blood pressure. Adjusted for body mass index, the ORs for incident ischemic stroke comparing the highest (Quartile 4) with the lowest quartile (Quartile 1) were 0.81 (95% CI, 0.61 to 1.08; P trend=0.068) for adiponectin, 1.15 (95% CI, 0.83 to 1.59; P trend=0.523) for leptin, and 1.57 (95% CI, 1.18 to 2.08; P trend=0.002) for resistin. The association for resistin remained significant even after accounting for established stroke risk factors (OR, 1.39; 95% CI, 1.01 to 1.90; P trend=0.036). Further adjustment for markers for inflammation, angiogenesis, and endothelial function also did not affect our results.Circulating levels of resistin, but not those of adiponectin or leptin, are associated with an increased risk of incident ischemic stroke in postmenopausal women, independent of obesity and other cardiovascular disease risk factors.