Myokine Irisin recapitulates the effect of physical activity on bone and muscle tissues
The concomitant occurrence of osteoporosis and sarcopenia is very common during the process of aging and
pathological conditions characterized by the disuse of the musculoskeletal system. However, to date there are
no evidence about the mechanism responsible for the coupling of these two process.
During the last decade, studies on the interactions between muscle and bone have made remarkable steps
forward, establishing that skeletal muscle is an endocrine organ producing and releasing myokines acting in a
paracrine or endocrine fashion. Among these, the newly identified myokine Irisin, produced by skeletal muscle
after physical exercise, plays a key role in the bone-muscle functional unit, with a major impact on the skeleton
by increasing cortical bone mineral density, modifying its geometry and improving bone strength. Furthermore,
in vitro and in vivo studies reported an autocrine effect of Irisin on skeletal muscle and highlighted the autocrine
myogenic potential of this myokine.
This review summarizes new insights on the topic of Irisin action on bone and skeletal muscle, which support
the hypothesis that Irisin may represent a novel molecular entity with exercise-mimetic properties. Hopefully
future research may expand the knowledge of its ability to improve bone integrity and muscle activity and
could pave the way for the use of Irisin as a new therapy for the prevention and treatment of musculoskeletal
disorders, particularly useful for those patients that are not capable of performing physical activity, such as the
elderly or bedridden patients.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
© Società Italiana di Gerontologia e Geriatria (SIGG) , 2016
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