Irisin, commonly known as the exercise hormone could have a therapeutic effect on COVID-19 patients, said São Paulo State University (UNESP) researchers. The findings of the study are published in Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology.
"We compared data for genes important in COVID-19 with our transcriptomic data to make correlations. The results offer a clue in the search for treatment of the disease during the emergency caused by the pandemic. It must be stressed that our findings are preliminary and merely suggest that irisin could have therapeutic potential in cases of COVID-19. Further research can pick up from here to see whether irisin's effects on patients with the disease are indeed beneficial," Miriane de Oliveira, a researcher at UNESP's Medical School in Botucatu, São Paulo (Brazil), told Agência FAPESP.
Because of COVID-19 pandemic, scientists have decided to investigate the possible effects of irisin on genes linked to the replication of SARS-CoV-2.
‘Irisin, the exercise hormone modulated genes associated with the replication of the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 in human cells.’
- Treatment of adipocytes with irisin reduced expression of the genes TLR3, HAT1, HDAC2, KDM5B, SIRT1, RAB1A, FURIN, and ADAM10, which in turn regulate ACE-2.
- ACE-2 is an essential gene for viral replication because it encodes the protein to which the novel COVID-19 virus binds to invade human cells.
- Irisin tripled levels of transcription of the gene TRIB3.
- Adipose tissue serves as a repository for coronavirus.
- People with higher BMI tend to have lower levels of irisin and higher levels of the receptor molecule used by the virus [ACE-2] than nonobese people.
"We began with a comparative analysis of the action of irisin and thyroid hormones in moderating fat accumulation and modulating genes in adipose cells," Oliveira said. "The study produced a large amount of data, and with the advent of the pandemic and the discovery by other research groups of genes associated with replication of SARS-CoV-2, we decided to use our database to investigate how irisin [and thyroid hormones] may influence the disease."