The aim of the present study was to evaluate the involvement of CD52 in adipocytes as well as to explore its effect on type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), and to improve our understanding of the potential molecular events of obesity with type 2 diabetes. Global changes in the CD52 expression patterns were detected in adipocytes and preadipocytes derived from obese and lean individuals. In particular, CD52 was identified as significantly differentially upregulated and was analyzed, both in vitro and in vivo, using various approaches. In vitro experiments, CD52 was a significantly up-regulated mRNA in mature adipocytes and preadipocytes. In addition, CD52 gradually increased with the differentiation of preadipocytes. In vivo experiments, the expression of CD52 in high-fat diet (HFD) -fed mice tended to be higher than that in regular diet (RD) -fed mice. Further analysis showed that CD52 expression was positively correlated with Smad3 and TGF-β in mice, and the downregulation of CD52 was accompanied by increased glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity. Moreover, a comparison of CD4+CD52high T cells and CD4+CD52low T cells showed that many T2DM-related genes were aberrantly expressed. Overall, CD52 may functioned as an important potential target for obesity with T2DM via TGF-β/Smad3 axis.