An interesting new study has shown that plasma irisin, a hormone released from muscle after exercise, is associated with telomere length which is a marker of aging. Irisin is known to signal your body to shift to fat-burning instead of fat storage. This may be the molecular link between exercise and healthier aging.
Plasma irisin levels predict telomere length in healthy adults
Karan S. Rana, Muhammad Arif, Eric J. Hill, Sarah Aldred, David A. Nagel, Alan Nevill, Harpal S. Randeva, Clifford J. Bailey, Srikanth Bellary, James E. Brown
AGE, 2014; DOI: 10.1007/s11357-014-9620-9
The ageing process is strongly influenced by nutrient balance, such that modest calorie restriction (CR) extends lifespan in mammals. Irisin, a newly described hormone released from skeletal muscles after exercise, may induce CR-like effects by increasing adipose tissue energy expenditure. Using telomere length as a marker of ageing, this study investigates associations between body composition, plasma irisin levels and peripheral blood mononuclear cell telomere length in healthy, non-obese individuals. Segmental body composition (by bioimpedance), telomere length and plasma irisin levels were assessed in 81 healthy individuals (age 43 ± 15.8 years, BMI 24.3 ± 2.9 kg/m2). Data showed significant correlations between log-transformed relative telomere length and the following: age (p < 0.001), height (p = 0.045), total body fat percentage (p = 0.031), abdominal fat percentage (p = 0.038), visceral fat level (p < 0.001), plasma leptin (p = 0.029) and plasma irisin (p = 0.011), respectively. Multiple regression analysis using backward elimination revealed that relative telomere length can be predicted by age (b = −0.00735, p = 0.001) and plasma irisin levels (b = 0.04527, p = 0.021). These data support the view that irisin may have a role in the modulation of both energy balance and the ageing process.