Circulating irisin levels and coronary heart disease: association with future acute coronary syndrome and major adverse cardiovascular events

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Irisin is a newly discovered myokine, associated with ‘browning’ of the white adipose tissue, obesity, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome. The purpose of this study is to evaluate circulating irisin as a predictor of acute coronary syndromes (ACSs) and major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE).


Sub-study 1: a case-control study, nested within the Veteran’s Affairs Normative Ageing Study, evaluating circulating irisin levels in 88 ACS cases and 158 age- and sampling year-matched controls, as a predictor of ACS. Sub-study 2: a prospective cohort study, where 103 participants with established coronary artery disease were stratified by circulating irisin levels at the time they received percutaneous coronary interventions (PCIs) and were followed for the development of MACE.


Study 1: there was no association between irisin levels and ACS in otherwise healthy individuals (odds ratio: 1.00 95% confidence interval: (0.99-1.00)). Study 2: the incidence of MACE was significantly lower in the first irisin tertile compared with the second and third (incidence rate 0 vs 0.92 (0.51-1.61) vs 0.57 (0.28-1.14) events per 1000 person-days; P<0.01). This was primarily driven by the lower incidence of unstable angina (incidence rate 0 vs 0.61 (0.31-1.22) vs 0.43 (0.19-0.96) per 1000 person-days; P = 0.01).


This is the first study to date that demonstrates that, although circulating irisin levels do not predict the development of ACS in healthy individuals, increased irisin levels are associated with the development of MACE in patients with established coronary artery disease after PCI.

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