Exercise hormone irisin mitigates endothelial barrier dysfunction and microvascular leakage–related diseases
© 2020, American Society for Clinical Investigation. Increased microvascular leakage is a cardinal feature of many critical diseases. Regular exercise is associated with improved endothelial function and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Irisin, secreted during exercise, contributes to many health benefits of exercise. However, the effects of irisin on endothelial function and microvascular leakage remain unknown. In this study, we found that irisin remarkably strengthened endothelial junctions and barrier function via binding to integrin αVβ5 receptor in LPS-treated endothelial cells. The beneficial effect of irisin was associated with suppression of the Src–MLCK–β-catenin pathway, activation of the AMPK-Cdc42/Rac1 pathway, and improvement of mitochondrial function. In preclinical models of microvascular leakage, exogenous irisin improved pulmonary function, decreased lung edema and injury, suppressed inflammation, and increased survival. In ARDS patients, serum irisin levels were decreased and inversely correlated with disease severity and mortality. In conclusion, irisin enhances endothelial barrier function and mitigates microvascular leakage–related diseases.