In DepthBiomedicine

Woes for ‘exercise hormone’

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Science  20 Mar 2015:
Vol. 347, Issue 6228, pp. 1299
DOI: 10.1126/science.347.6228.1299

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Since it was first described in 2012, the hormone irisin has generated hope and controversy. In mice, the molecule appeared to be released from muscles after exercise and circulate in the blood, promoting the generation of energy-burning brown fat cells. But as other labs tried to expand on the idea that irisin is a key regulator of metabolism and a potential drug target for metabolic disease in humans, they got contradictory results. A new study throws another hitch in the irisin story by calling into question the reliability of antibody-based test kits often used to detect the molecule. Its authors claim that many of the studies measuring irisin in human blood are invalid.