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 language||English (US)|
|Journal||Journals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences|
|State||Published - 2001|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geriatrics and Gerontology