Plasma irisin modestly increases during moderate and high-intensity afternoon exercise in obese females

Nathan C. Winn, Zachary I. Grunewald, Ying Liu, Timothy D. Heden, Lauren M. Nyhoff, Jill A. Kanaley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose: Irisin is an exercise-responsive myokine that has been proposed to exert anti-obesity benefits; yet its response during exercise in obese women is not described. This study characterized plasma irisin levels during a single bout of afternoon isocaloric-exercise of different intensities (moderate- vs high-intensity) in obese females. Methods: Eleven obese females participated in 3 randomized study days beginning at 1600h: 1) no exercise (NoEx), 2) moderate exercise (ModEx; 55%VO2max) and 3) high intensity interval exercise (IntEx; 4 min (80%VO2max)/3 min (50% VO2max). Frequent blood samples were analyzed for glucose and lactate (whole-blood), and insulin, c-peptide, glucagon, and irisin (plasma) throughout 190 min of testing. Results: Plasma irisin increased above baseline during ModEx and IntEx (P<0.05), but not NoEx (P>0.05). Peak irisin levels during ModEx and IntEx exercise were 11.9±3.4% and 12.3 ± 4.1% relative to baseline (P<0.05), respectively, with no differences between exercise intensities (P>0.05). Irisin levels remained elevated above resting for 125 minutes post-exercise during ModEx, whereas levels returned to baseline within 15 minutes post-exercise during IntEx. Similarly, no associations were found between plasma irisin levels and circulating lactate, glucose, insulin, c-peptide, or glucagon among study days (P>0.05). However, there was an inverse association between basal irisin and lean mass (r = -0.70, P = 0.01). Conclusion: A single bout of moderate and high intensity afternoon exercise induces modest increases in circulating irisin concentrations during exercise; however the regulation post-exercise appears to be dimorphic between exercise intensity in obese females. Future studies are needed to compare morning and afternoon exercise on irisin secretion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0170690
JournalPloS one
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by NIH R21DK084467-01 (JAK) grant.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Winn et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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