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01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

BMC Pulmonary Medicine 1/2015

Association of circulating irisin and cardiopulmonary exercise capacity in healthy volunteers: results of the Study of Health in Pomerania

BMC Pulmonary Medicine > Ausgabe 1/2015
Nils Kerstholt, Ralf Ewert, Matthias Nauck, Thomas Spielhagen, Tom Bollmann, Beate Stubbe, Stephan B Felix, Henri Wallaschofski, Sven Gläser, Nele Friedrich
Wichtige Hinweise

Electronic supplementary material

The online version of this article (doi:10.​1186/​s12890-015-0035-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Sven Gläser and Nele Friedrich contributed equally to this work.

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

NK, SG and NF contributed to the study design and concept for the data analysis. MN and HW organized the sample collection and data preparation. RE, TS, TB, BS, SBF and SG organized and performed the cardiopulmonary exercise testing. NK and NF performed statistical analyses, drafted the manuscript and wrote the final version together with all other co-authors. RE, TS, TB, BS, SBF, HW and SG contributed to the interpretation of the results and the discussion. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



Irisin, a recently discovered myokine, is assumed to be secreted by muscle cells in response to exercise and is involved in the regulation of energy metabolism by browning white adipose tissue cells. However, due to the fact that previous studies revealed conflicting results concerning the association between irisin and exercise, the aim of the present study was to investigate the potential relationship between irisin and exercise capacity in a population-based setting.


From the population-based Study of Health in Pomerania (SHIP-TREND) 334 men and 406 women with irisin measurements were selected and a standardised symptom limited cardiopulmonary exercise test was used. Exercise capacity was quantified by oxygen uptake at anaerobic threshold (VO2@AT), peak exercise (peakVO2) and maximum power output at peak exertion. In addition, the oxygen pulse was assessed. ANOVA and multivariable linear regression analyses were performed stratified by sex and adjusted for age, weight, height and smoking.


In men, we observed inverse associations between irisin serum concentration and exercise capacity assessed by peakVO2 and maximum power output. In contrast, in women a trend towards a positive relationship between irisin and peakVO2 was detected, whereas none of the other parameters showed significant associations with irisin.


Based on a large population sample, our results did not confirm the previous reported positive linkage between exercise and irisin. Thus the relationship needs further investigation in particular with respect to sex differences.
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