Accumulating basic and clinical studies indicate that adipose tissue cells (adipocytes, matrix cells, stromovascular cells and associated macrophages) synthesize and release multiple signaling proteins collectively termed adipokines. Adipokines regulate a broad spectrum of biological processes, with glucose and lipid metabolism being a key example. This defines a new field of study: adipobiology of type 2 diabetes mellitus. The importance of diabetes-related (diabetogenic) adipokines, with an emphasis on adiponectin, resistin, leptin, angiotensin II, tumor necrosis factor-α , interleukin-6, and visfatin, is reviewed. Competing of pro- and anti-diabetogenic adipokine-mediated signals may pivotally be involved in the adipobiology of diabetes. This paradigm may reveal further new tools for drug development against diabetes and related disorders.