Spexin is a novel neuropeptide playing an emerging role in metabolic diseases such as obesity and diabetes via involvement in energy homeostasis and food intake. The present study investigated the effects of obesity and type 2 diabetes (T2D) on circulating levels of spexin and its modulation by physical exercise. Normal-weight (n = 50) and obese adults with and without T2D (n = 69 and n = 66, respectively) were enrolled in the study. A subgroup of obese participants (n = 47) underwent a supervised 3-month exercise programme. Plasma spexin levels were measured by ELISA and correlated with various markers. Plasma spexin levels decreased in obese participants with or without T2D compared with those of normal-weight participants (0.43 ± 0.11, 0.44 ± 0.12 and 0.61 ± 0.23 ng/ml, respectively; P < 0.001). Spexin levels negatively correlated with adiposity markers and blood pressure in the whole study population (P < 0.05). Multiple regression analysis revealed blood pressure was the greatest predictive determinant of plasma spexin levels, which significantly increased in response to physical exercise in obese participants without and with T2D (P < 0.05). Spexin levels significantly increased only in responders to exercise (those with increased oxygen consumption, VO 2 max) with a concomitant improvement in metabolic profile. In conclusion, plasma spexin levels may be an indicator of response to physical exercise.