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This article has been peer reviewed. It is the author’s final published version in Physiological Reports

Volume 3, Issue 6, June 2015, Article number e12419.

The published version is available at DOI: 10.14814/phy2.12419 Copyright © Brailoiu et al.


Irisin is a newly identified hormone induced in muscle and adipose tissues by physical activity. This protein and its encoding gene have been identified in the brain; in addition, the precursor for irisin, FNDC5, can cross the blood-brain barrier. The fact that irisin is secreted during exercise together with the lower resting heart rate in athletes prompted us to investigate the effect of irisin on cardiac-projecting vagal neurons of nucleus ambiguus, a key regulatory site of heart rate. In vitro experiments in cultured nucleus ambiguus neurons indicate that irisin activates these neurons, inducing an increase in cytosolic Ca(2+) concentration and neuronal depolarization. In vivo microinjection of irisin into the nucleus ambiguus promotes bradycardia in conscious rats. Our study is the first to report the effects of irisin on the neurons controlling the cardiac vagal tone and to link a myokine to a cardioprotective role, by modulating central cardiovascular regulation.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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