Exercise-induced irisin release as a determinant of the metabolic response to exercise training in obese youth: the EXIT trial

Physiol Rep. 2017 Dec;5(23):e13539. doi: 10.14814/phy2.13539.


The mechanisms underlying the metabolic improvements following aerobic exercise training remain poorly understood. The primary aim of this study was to determine if an adipomyokine, irisin, responded to acute exercise was associated with the metabolic adaptations to chronic aerobic exercise in obese youth. The acute response to exercise was assessed in 11 obese youth following 45-min acute bouts of aerobic (AE) and resistance exercise (RE). The irisin area under the curve (pre-exercise, 15, 30, and 45 min) during these AE sessions were the main exposure variables. The primary outcome measure was the change in insulin sensitivity using the Matsuda index, following 6 weeks of RE training, delivered for 45 min, three times per week at 60-65% 1RM. Participants were also categorized as either responders (above) or nonresponders (below) based on the percentage change in the Matsuda index following the 6-week intervention. Irisin increased significantly during the acute bout of AE from 29.23 ± 6.96 to 39.30 ± 7.05 ng/mL; P = 0.028, but not significantly during the RE session (P = 0.182). Absolute and relative change in irisin during the acute bout of AE was associated with absolute and relative change in Matsuda index (r = 0.68; P = 0.022 and r = 0.63; P = 0.037) following the 6-week RE intervention. No such association was observed with the irisin response to acute RE (all P > 0.05). Responders to the 6-week RE intervention displayed a fourfold greater irisin response to acute AE (90.0 ± 28.0% vs. 22.8 ± 18.7%; P = 0.024) compared to nonresponders. Irisin increases significantly following an acute bout of AE, but not RE, and this response is associated with a greater improvement in insulin sensitivity in response to chronic resistance training.

Keywords: Cardiometabolic response; FNDC5; exercise; irisin; obesity.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Fibronectins / blood*
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Male
  • Obesity / blood
  • Obesity / therapy*
  • Resistance Training*


  • FNDC5 protein, human
  • Fibronectins