Food restriction enhances endogenous and corticotropin-induced plasma elevations of free but not total corticosterone throughout life in rats

E. S. Han, T. R. Evans, J. H. Shu, S. Lee, J. F. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Scopus citations

Abstract

Chronic food restriction (FR), which retards many aging processes, enhances the endogenous diurnal peak of plasma total corticosterone (B) in young rats. Although the FR-dependent enhancement of total B disappears in aged rats, increased levels of the bioavailable fraction, free B, appear to be maintained. In young rats, we previously found that the FR-induced increase in the diurnal peak of total B is associated with increased adrenal response to corticotropin, also know as adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). Here we show that the FR-enhanced adrenal response of total B to ACTH disappears with age but that the enhanced response of free B is maintained. We measured the endogenous diurnal peak and the response to ACTH of total and free B in 10-, 16-, and 22-month-old ad-libitum fed and FR male Fischer 344 rats in the afternoon, when plasma B peaks. At 10 and 16 months, FR rats showed enhanced total plasma B responses to ACTH relative to ad-libitum fed rats, but not at 22 months. By contrast, the response of free B to ACTH was enhanced by FR at all ages. The effect of FR on patterns of endogenous total and free diurnal B in these three age groups paralleled the ACTH-response data. The enhanced adrenocortical response of FR rats to ACTH does not reflect an increased expression of ACTH-receptor (ACTH-R) mRNA, because ACTH-R mRNA/μg adrenal RNA and ACTH-R mRNA/ mg adrenal weight did not differ between ad-libitum fed and FR rats at any age.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)B391-B397
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Volume56
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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