Effect of aging on beta-adrenergically mediated thermogenesis in men.

D.A.J.M. Kerckhoffs, E.E. Blaak*, M.A. van Baak, W.H.M. Saris

*Corresponding author for this work

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Department of Human Biology, Maastricht University, 6200 MD Maastricht, The Netherlands.

The age-dependent alterations in beta-adrenergically mediated thermogenesis were investigated in 11 young (mean +/- SE age: 21.9 +/- 0.5 yr) and 9 older (52.9 +/- 2.1 yr) men during intravenous infusion of the nonselective beta-agonist isoprenaline (Iso). The older men had higher basal plasma norepinephrine (327.7 +/- 35.8 vs. 159.0 +/- 18.2 pg/ml, P < 0.001) and epinephrine (75.1 +/- 18.1 vs. 29.1 +/- 5.3 pg/ml, P < 0.05) concentrations than the young. The beta-adrenergically mediated thermogenesis was diminished in the older men, as reflected by the significantly higher plasma Iso concentration needed to increase resting energy expenditure by 15% (236.1 +/- 51.0 vs. 107.6 +/- 11.4 pg/ml, P < 0.05). Additionally, both dose (39.4 +/- 6.6 vs. 19.1 +/- 1.5 ng . kg fat-free mass-1 . min-1, P < 0.01) and plasma concentration (332.2 +/- 59.1 vs. 119.3 +/- 14.0 pg/ml, P < 0.01) of Iso needed to increase resting heart rate by 25 beats/min were higher in older than in younger subjects, suggesting that the age-related decline in beta-adrenergic sensitivity is a generalized defect not related to a specific tissue or response. In conclusion, aging is associated with a diminished beta-adrenergically mediated thermogenesis. This blunted thermogenic response may contribute to a positive energy balance and thus promote increased fat storage and obesity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E1075-E1079
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology (Consolidated)
Issue number6 Pt 1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1998


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