The ability of a variety of hormones to activate cells declines with age. We have investigated the mechanism for the reduced ability of beta adrenergic stimulation to activate lipolysis in fat cells from older rats. Previously, we have found that these cells have an intact lipolytic response to a cAMP analogue but diminished cAMP accumulation after isoproterenol stimulation, suggesting that the blunted cAMP response is rate limiting. In the present study we have tested the hypothesis that enhanced inhibition of lipolysis by endogenously released adenosine accounts for the diminished lipolysis. Adenosine deaminase was added to media containing the adipocytes from older rats to remove endogenous adenosine. Under these conditions beta adrenergic stimulation of lipolysis is intact in fat cells from older rats. The adenosine analogue N6-phenylisopropyladenosine more effectively inhibited lipolysis in the older group (77 +/- 6%) than in the younger group (46 +/- 5%), suggesting that enhanced efficacy of endogenous adenosine may account for the reduced lipolytic response to catecholamines. When pertussis vaccine was used to functionally inactivate adenosine receptors in adipocytes from the younger and older rats, the ability of isoproterenol to activate lipolysis was restored in the older group. All the data are consistent with the hypothesis that enhanced inhibitory effects of adenosine explain the diminished ability of beta adrenergic agonists to activate lipolysis. It is possible that enhanced inhibitory pathways may be involved in blunting responses to stimulatory hormones in other tissues from older animals.
B B Hoffman, H Chang, Z Farahbakhsh, G Reaven