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Exercise for Strong Bones

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Exercise plays an important role in life. The studies suggest that exercise induced hormone ‘irisin’ may have a therapeutic potential in strengthening bone. The study found that two weeks of voluntary wheel running induces higher expression of irisin. In addition, systemic administration of irisin increased bone formation and thickness, mimicking the effects of exercise on the mouse skeletal system.

The findings demonstrate a potential new mechanism for the regulation of bone metabolism. The results of the studies provide insight into the complex regulatory interplay of muscle, bone and fat tissues. Increased irisin levels in circulation upon systemic administration can recapitulate part of the beneficial effects of exercise in the skeletal system. The findings demonstrate that irisin produced by bone could have a role in bone metabolism through both direct mechanisms and indirect mechanisms, as the transition from white fat to brown fat has been shown to lead to increased bone formation by previous studies. In addition, recombinant irisin has also been shown to suppress sclerostin, a protein that is involved in bone loss during prolonged lack of mechanical load, such as in bed-ridden patients. Exercise-induced irisin may not only act as an endocrine factor capable of promoting the browning of white adipose tissue, but could also regulate bone metabolism by autocrine mechanisms. “The results suggest that irisin may have a therapeutic potential in strengthening bone in bone-loss-associated diseases.


Colaianni G., et al., 2015, “The myokine irisin increases cortical bone mass,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences; 112(39): 12157-12162. [Web Reference]

Colaianni G., et al., 2017, “Irisin prevents and restores bone loss and muscle atrophy in hind-limb suspended mice,” Scientific Reports; 7: 2811. [Web Reference]

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