Association of serum irisin with metabolic syndrome in obese Chinese adults

PLoS One. 2014 Apr 7;9(4):e94235. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0094235. eCollection 2014.


Irisin, a recently identified novel myokine, drives brown-fat-like conversion of white adipose tissues and has been proposed to mediate beneficial effects of exercise on metabolism. Circulating irisin was significantly reduced in type 2 diabetes patients; however, no evidence is available about its association with metabolic syndrome (MetS) and effects of adiposity and muscle mass on circulating irisin have been controversial. Cross-sectional data on socio-demographic, lifestyle, clinical characteristics and serum irisin were collected for 1,115 community-living Chinese adults with central obesity. Associations of serum irisin with MetS (central obesity plus any two of the following four factors (raised blood pressure (BP), raised fasting plasma glucose (FPG), raised triglyceride (TG), and reduced HDL cholesterol) and each component of MetS were analyzed using multivariable logistic regression. Among the 1,115 obese Chinese adults with a mean age of 53.2(±7.2) years, serum irisin levels (log-transformed) were significantly reduced in subjects with MetS and raised FPG than their control groups (p = 0.034 and 0.041, respectively). After adjustment for potential confounders, serum irisin was significantly associated with reduced risks of MetS and raised FPG, with odds ratios (ORs) (95% CI) per standard deviation of log-transformed irisin of 0.796 (0.505-0.959, p = 0.027) and 0.873 (0.764-0.998, p = 0.046), respectively. Associations of irisin with raised BP, raised TG and reduced HDL were not statistically significant ((ORs) (95% CI): 0.733(0.454-1.182, p = 0.202), 0.954(0.838-1.086, p = 0.478) and 1.130(0.980-1.302, p = 0.092), respectively). Stepwise multivariable linear regression analysis showed that fasting insulin, HbA1c and albumin/globulin ratio were negatively associated with serum irisin level with statistical significance (all p-values <0.05) and waist circumference was negatively associated with serum risin with marginally statistical significance (p = 0.055). These results imply that irisin may play an important role in insulin resistance and MetS and should be confirmed in future prospective studies.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adiposity
  • Adult
  • Asian People*
  • Female
  • Fibronectins / blood*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / blood*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / complications*
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications*


  • FNDC5 protein, human
  • Fibronectins

Grant support

This study is supported by the grants from the Xiamen Systems Biology Research Program for Metabolic Disease and National Nature Science Foundations (No. 81000320 and No. 81073113). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.