Irisin serum levels are a good marker of bone formation in childhood

Identified in 2012, Irisin is a molecule produced by skeletal muscle (miokine) during physical activity. Due to the tight relationship between physical activity and bone formation, it was supposed, and further proved, that this “hormone-like” molecule could help the bone and muscles in case of fracture and disuse for prolonged bed rest. Several groups investigated the irisin role in healthy subjects or in pathological conditions and confirmed that Irisin levels positively correlate with Bone Mineral Density and strength, while negatively correlate with vertebral fractures.

However, the vast majority of studies focused on adult populations, while few data are available on childhood or pediatric subjects. Such type of study, instead, can be of great utility, since the bone mass acquired in childhood and after the maturity could predict a likely osteoporotic disease in the elderly. Recently, in a paper published on Pediatric Research, a journal of the Nature group, the ECTS Academy member Graziana Colaianni and colleagues, filled this scientific gap, performing an elegant study on 34 children: the Authors measured several biochemical and morphological parameters that correlated with irisin levels. Interestingly, they found that irisin is not dependent on the pubertal stage, thus indicating that the hormone correctly works also during the childhood. Moreover, irisin levels positively correlated with osteocalcin, an important osteoblast-derived hormone, known as to be involved in energy metabolism and skeletal muscle function. These results point out on the importance for children to practice sports and physical activity, since they enhance the production of irisin, that in turn, reinforces the skeletal muscle and preserves the bone health. Moreover, irisin can be considered among the best predictor markers of bone formation, with accuracy and reliability greater than parathyroid hormone or bone alkaline phosphatase.

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