COPD is accompanied by limited physical activity, worse quality of life, and increased prevalence of depression. A possible link between COPD and depression may be irisin, a myokine, expression of which in the skeletal muscle and brain positively correlates with physical activity. Irisin enhances the synthesis of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a neurotrophin involved in reward-related processes. Thus, we hypothesized that mood disturbances accompanying COPD are reflected by the changes in the irisin-BDNF axis. Case history, routine laboratory parameters, serum irisin and BDNF levels, pulmonary function, and disease-specific quality of life, measured by St George’s Respiratory Questionnaire (SGRQ), were determined in a cohort of COPD patients (n=74). Simple and then multiple linear regression were used to evaluate the data. We found that mood disturbances are associated with lower serum irisin levels (SGRQ’s Impacts score and reciprocal of irisin showed a strong positive association; β: 419.97; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 204.31, 635.63; P˂0.001). This association was even stronger among patients in the lower 50% of BDNF levels (β: 434.11; 95% CI: 166.17, 702.05; P=0.002), while it became weaker for patients in the higher 50% of BDNF concentrations (β: 373.49; 95% CI: −74.91, 821.88; P=0.1). These results suggest that irisin exerts beneficial effect on mood in COPD patients, possibly by inducing the expression of BDNF in brain areas associated with reward-related processes involved in by depression. Future interventional studies targeting the irisin-BDNF axis (eg, endurance training) are needed to further support this notion.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Health Policy
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health