Objective Weight regain is associated with the promotion of insulin resistance. The newly discovered myokine irisin, which was proposed to be involved in the management of insulin sensitivity, could play a role in this process. This study aimed to investigate the association between irisin and reduced insulin sensitivity induced by weight regain.
Materials/Methods Insulin sensitivity was evaluated according to the homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance (HOMA-IR) in 136 obese patients who followed an eight-week hypocaloric diet (30% reduced energy expenditure) to lose weight and was re-evaluated four or six months after treatment. Irisin plasma levels, as well as the levels of leptin, adiponectin, ghrelin and TNF-¿, were quantified in a sub-cohort (n=73) from the initially studied patients at baseline (T0), at the diet endpoint (T1) and after the follow-up period (T2).
Results After a successful dietary intervention to lose weight, 50% of the patients who regained the lost weight during the follow-up period were categorized as insulin resistant (HOMA-IR¿2.5) compared with only 25% of patients who maintained the weight loss (p=0.018). Importantly, in addition to the well-studied hormones leptin and adiponectin, irisin plasma levels were statistically associated with several risk factors for insulin resistance. Indeed, the increased risk of insulin resistance during the follow-up period was related to high irisin levels at baseline (odds ratio=4.2; p=0.039).
Conclusions Circulating irisin predicts the insulin resistance onset in association with weight regain. Therefore, irisin could be secreted as an adaptive response to counteract the deleterious effect of excess adiposity on glucose homeostasis.