Current protein & peptide science, vol.23, no.7, pp.437-455, 2022 (SCI-Expanded)
Physical inactivity is a major cause of chronic diseases. It shortens the health span by lowering the age of the first chronic disease onset, which leads to decreased quality of life and increased mortality risk. On the other hand, physical exercise is considered a miracle cure in the primary prevention of at least 35 chronic diseases, including obesity, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes. However, despite many scientific attempts to unveil the health benefits conferred by regular exercise, the underlying molecular mechanisms driving such benefits are not fully explored. Recent research shows that exercise-induced bioactive molecules, named exerkines, might play a critical role in the regulation of metabolic homeostasis and thus prevent metabolic diseases. Here we summarize the current understanding of the health-promoting effects of exerkines secreted from skeletal muscle, adipose tissue, bone, and liver, including MOTS-c, BDNF, miR-1, 12,13-diHOME, irisin, SPX, OC, GDF15, and FGF21 on obesity, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes. Identifying the systemic health benefits of exerkines may open a new area for the discovery of new pharmacological strategies for the prevention and management of metabolic diseases.