Impaired Glucose Tolerance in the Absence of Adenosine A1 Receptor Signaling

  1. Jurgen B. Schnermann1
  1. 1National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
  2. 2National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland
  1. Corresponding author: Robert Faulhaber-Walter, rofaulhaber{at}


OBJECTIVE The role of adenosine (ADO) in the regulation of glucose homeostasis is not clear. In the current study, we used A1-ADO receptor (A1AR)-deficient mice to investigate the role of ADO/A1AR signaling for glucose homeostasis.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS After weaning, A1AR−/− and wild-type mice received either a standard diet (12 kcal% fat) or high-fat diet (HFD; 45 kcal% fat). Body weight, fasting plasma glucose, plasma insulin, and intraperitoneal glucose tolerance tests were performed in 8-week-old mice and again after 12–20 weeks of subsequent observation. Body composition was quantified by magnetic resonance imaging and epididymal fat-pad weights. Glucose metabolism was investigated by hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamp studies. To describe pathophysiological mechanisms, adipokines and Akt phosphorylation were measured.

RESULTS A1AR−/− mice were significantly heavier than wild-type mice because of an increased fat mass. Fasting plasma glucose and insulin were significantly higher in A1AR−/− mice after weaning and remained higher in adulthood. An intraperitoneal glucose challenge disclosed a significantly slower glucose clearance in A1AR−/− mice. An HFD enhanced this phenotype in A1AR−/− mice and unmasked a dysfunctional insulin secretory mechanism. Insulin sensitivity was significantly impaired in A1AR−/− mice on the standard diet shortly after weaning. Clamp studies detected a significant decrease of net glucose uptake in A1AR−/− mice and a reduced glucose uptake in muscle and white adipose tissue. Effects were not triggered by leptin deficiency but involved a decreased Akt phosphorylation.

CONCLUSIONS ADO/A1AR signaling contributes importantly to insulin-controlled glucose homeostasis and insulin sensitivity in C57BL/6 mice and is involved in the metabolic regulation of adipose tissue.

  • Received January 18, 2011.
  • Accepted June 28, 2011.

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