AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) is a central regulator of both lifespan and health across multiple model organisms. β-Guanidinopropionic acid (GPA) is an endogenous AMPK activator previously shown to improve metabolic function in young and obese mice. In this study, we tested whether age of administration significantly affects the physiological outcomes of GPA administration in mice. We report that intervention starting at 7–8 months (young) results in activation of AMPK signaling and a phenotype consisting of lower body mass, improved glucose control, enhanced exercise tolerance, and altered mitochondrial electron transport chain flux similar to previous reports. When GPA treatment is started at 18–19 months (old), the effect of GPA on AMPK signaling is blunted compared to younger mice despite similar accumulation of GPA in skeletal muscle. Even so, GPA administration in older animals delayed age-related declines in lean mass, improved measures of gait performance and circadian rhythm, and increased fat metabolism as measured by respiratory exchange ratio. These results are likely partially driven by the relative difference in basal function and metabolic plasticity between young and old mice. Our results suggest that age-related declines in AMPK sensitivity may limit potential strategies targeting AMPK signaling in older subjects and suggest that further research and development is required for AMPK activators to realize their full potential.
- Beta-guanidinopropionic acid
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- veterinary (miscalleneous)
- Complementary and alternative medicine
- Geriatrics and Gerontology
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine