Scientists at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute have found a hormone created in the body which could have extremely important implications on human health. The protein, which they are calling “irisin” has been described as a highly promising candidate for the development of a novel treatment for diabetes, weight problems, and perhaps neurological diseases such as Parkinsons.
Dr. Bruce Spiegelman PhD, a cell biologist, and Pontus Bostrom MD PhD, a postdoctoral fellow, discovered a chemical protein which is produced in muscles during exercise called PGC1-alpha. This compound regulates genes involved in energy metabolism. It may also be involved in controlling blood pressure, regulating cellular cholesterol, and the development of obesity.
The existence of PGC1-alpha causes production of a chemical messenger first known as Fndc5, which researchers renamed to “irisin” after the Greek messenger goddess Iris. This hormone, located within the outer membrane of muscle cells, appears to help convert white fat, which is used to store energy, into brown fat which burns calories.