13 February 2021
Irisin, which is cleaved from fibronectin type III domain-containing protein 5 ( Fndc5), plays an important role in energy homeostasis. The link between energy metabolism and reproduction is well known. However, the biological actions of irisin in reproduction remain largely unexplored.
In this study, we generated Fndc5 gene mutation to create irisin deficient mice. Female wild-type (WT) and Fndc5 mutant mice were fed with standard chow for 48 weeks. Firstly, the survival rate, body weight and fertility were described in mice. Secondly, the levels of steroid hormones in serum were measured by ELISA, and the estrus cycle and the appearance of follicles were determined by vaginal smears and ovarian continuous sections. Thirdly, mRNA-sequencing analysis was used to compare gene expression between the ovaries of Fndc5 mutant mice and those of WT mice. Finally, the effects of exogenous irisin on steroid hormone production was investigated in KGN cells.
The mice lacking irisin presented increased mortality, reduced body weight and poor fertility. Analysis of sex hormones showed decreased levels of estradiol, follicle-stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone, and elevated progesterone levels in Fndc5 mutant mice. Irisin deficiency in mice was associated with irregular estrus, reduced ratio of antral follicles. The expressions of Akr1c18, Mamld1, and Cyp19a1, which are involved in the synthesis of steroid hormones, were reduced in the ovaries of mutant mice. Exogenous irisin could promote the expression of Akr1c18, Mamld1, and Cyp19a1 in KGN cells, stimulating estradiol production and inhibiting progesterone secretion.
Irisin deficiency was related to disordered endocrinology metabolism in mice. The irisin deficient mice showed poor growth and development, and decreased fertility. Irisin likely have effects on the expressions of Akr1c18, Mamld1 and Cyp19a1 in ovary, regulating the steroid hormone production. This study provides novel insights into the potential role of irisin in mammalian growth and reproduction.