Chow LS, Gerszten RE, Taylor JM, Pedersen BK, Van Praag H, Trappe S, Febbraio MA, Galis ZS, Goo YL, Haus JM, Lanza IR, Lavie CJ, Lee CH, Lucia A, Moro C, Pandey A, Robbins JM, Stanford KI, Thackray AE, Villeda S, Watt MJ, Xia A, Zierath JR, Goodpaster BH, Snyder MP
Exerkines are signalling moieties that are released in response to acute and/or chronic exercise that exert their effects through endocrine, paracrine and/or autocrine pathways. This Review summarizes the importance and current state of exerkine research, prevailing challenges and future directions.The health benefits of exercise are well-recognized and are observed across multiple organ systems. These beneficial effects enhance overall resilience, healthspan and longevity. The molecular mechanisms that underlie the beneficial effects of exercise, however, remain poorly understood. Since the discovery in 2000 that muscle contraction releases IL-6, the number of exercise-associated signalling molecules that have been identified has multiplied. Exerkines are defined as signalling moieties released in response to acute and/or chronic exercise, which exert their effects through endocrine, paracrine and/or autocrine pathways. A multitude of organs, cells and tissues release these factors, including skeletal muscle (myokines), the heart (cardiokines), liver (hepatokines), white adipose tissue (adipokines), brown adipose tissue (baptokines) and neurons (neurokines). Exerkines have potential roles in improving cardiovascular, metabolic, immune and neurological health. As such, exerkines have potential for the treatment of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes mellitus and obesity, and possibly in the facilitation of healthy ageing. This Review summarizes the importance and current state of exerkine research, prevailing challenges and future directions.