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Irisin is produced by a proteolytic cleavage of fibronectin type III domain-containing protein 5 (FNDC5) and has emerged as a potential mediator of exercise-induced energy metabolism. The purpose of this study was to review the results of studies that investigated irisin responses to acute and chronic exercise and provide an update. A comprehensive search in the databases of MEDLINE was performed (74 exercise studies). The focus of the analysis was on data concerning FNDC5 mRNA expression in skeletal muscle and circulating irisin concentration relatively to exercise mode, intensity, frequency and duration and the characteristics of the sample used. Circulating irisin levels may either not relate to FNDC5 transcription or expression of the later precedes irisin rise in the blood. Acute speed/strength and endurance exercise protocols represent potent stimuli for irisin release if they are characterized by adequate intensity and/or duration. There are no reports regarding irisin responses to field sport activities. Although animal studies suggest that irisin may also respond to systematic exercise training, the majority of human studies has produced contradictory results. Certain methodological issues need to be considered here such as the analytical assays used to measure irisin concentration in the circulation. Results may also be affected by subjects' age, conditioning status and exercise intensity. The role of irisin as a moderator of energy metabolism during exercise remains to be seen.