The myokine Irisin, produced during physical exercise, has an anabolic effect on bone, both in vitro and in vivo. Very recently, using a controlled in vitro 3D cell model to mimic the bone microenvironment aboard the International Space Station, it has been shown that Irisin treatment in microgravity prevents the down-regulation of the transcription factors Atf4, Runx2 and Osterix, as well as Collagen I and Osteoprotegerin proteins, crucial for osteoblast differentiation in physiologic conditions. Irisin action has also been investigated in human subjects, in which it correlates with bone health status, supporting its physiological importance also in human bone, both in healthy subjects and in patients suffering from diseases related to bone metabolism, such as hyperparathyroidism and type 1 diabetes. Low levels of circulating Irisin have been found in post-menopausal women affected by hyperparathyroidism. Furthermore, Irisin is positively correlated with bone strength in athletes and bone mineral density in football players. Moreover, in healthy children, Irisin is positively associated with bone mineral status and in children with type 1 diabetes, Irisin is positively correlated with improved glycemic control and skeletal health. In this review, we will focus on recent findings about Irisin action on microgravity induced bone loss and on osteocyte activity and survival through its αV/β5 integrin receptor.

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