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The Irisin-Exercise Connection


Irisin is a hormone that is involved in converting white adipose tissue into brown adipose tissue after physical exercise. It is the extracellular portion of the FNDC5 type 1 transmembrane protein and can be detected when it is cleaved and released into the bloodstream during exercise. According to a recent article in The Scientist, the hormone irisin has been definitively identified and linked to physical activity in humans for the first time since its discovery in 2012 by Dr. Bruce Spiegelman and his team at Harvard Medical School.

However, since its discovery, irisin’s existence has been questioned due to the quality of the antibody used in its detection in humans and because it’s translational start codon is ATA instead of the typical ATG. This led Spiegelman, Steven Gygi, and colleagues to turn to a different method to prove irisin’s existence – tandem mass spectrometry. This method allowed researchers to identify irisin down to the atomic level and confirm that the translational start codon of irisin mRNA is, indeed, ATA. Spiegelman’s team found circulating blood irisin levels in aerobically active individuals to be slightly higher compared to their sedentary counterparts – 4.3 ng/mL vs. 3.6 ng/mL, respectively.

What are your thoughts on irisin and its role in exercise in humans?

Enzo Life Sciences offers customers the irisin (human) polyclonal antibody, as well as a highly active irisin recombinant protein.

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