Vitamin D Increases Irisin Serum Levels and the Expression of Its Precursor in Skeletal Muscle

Irisin is a myokine synthesized by skeletal muscle, which performs key actions on whole-body metabolism. Previous studies have hypothesized a relationship between irisin and vitamin D, but the pathway has not been thoroughly investigated. The purpose of the study was to evaluate whether vitamin D supplementation affected irisin serum levels in a cohort of 19 postmenopausal women with primary hyperparathyroidism (PHPT) treated with cholecalciferol for six months. In parallel, to understand the possible link between vitamin D and irisin, we analyzed the expression of the irisin precursor, Fndc5, in the C2C12 myoblast cell line treated with a biologically active form of vitamin D, 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (1,25(OH)2D3). Our results demonstrate that vitamin D supplementation resulted in a significant increase in irisin serum levels (p = 0.031) in PHPT patients. In vitro, we show that vitamin D treatment on myoblasts enhanced Fndc5 mRNA after 48 h (p = 0.013), while it increased mRNAs of sirtuin 1 (Sirt1) (p = 0.041) and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ coactivator 1α (Pgc1α) (p = 0.017) over a shorter time course. Overall, our data suggest that vitamin-D-induced modulation of Fndc5/irisin occurs through up-regulation of Sirt1, which together with Pgc1α, is an important regulator of numerous metabolic processes in skeletal muscle.