Aging Clinical and Experimental Research

, Volume 9, Issue 1–2, pp 153–158 | Cite as

Uncoupling of changes in skeletal muscle β-adrenergic receptor density and aerobic capacity during the aging process

  • R. P. Farrar
  • K.A Monnin
  • D. E. Fordyce
  • T. J. Walters
Original Article


The results of the present study indicate that the density of the β-adrenergic receptors in the skeletal muscle does not decline with age, despite declines in oxidative capacity both in the skeletal muscle and whole body oxygen consumption. When young rats and old rats of equal body weight trained daily at the same duration and speed for 6 months on the treadmill, skeletal muscle of young and old rats reached the same aerobic capacity. The young demonstrated a significant rise in Bmax of the β receptors, while the old rats did not change their density of receptors. When both young and old rats had the contractile activity of their skeletal muscle raised to the same level through chronic tonic electrical stimulation, the aerobic capacity and β receptor density rose to the same levels in the skeletal muscle. Thus, the contraction-dependent pathway in the senescent muscle appears to function normally given a maximal chronic stimulus via electrical stimulation. These data indicate that the relationship between oxidative capacity, β-adrenergic receptor properties, exercise training, and aging does not appear to be readily explicable by a single unifying mechanism, but probably resides in the interaction of age with a differential responsiveness of the β-adrenergic and/or contraction dependent pathway for stimulation of aerobic capacity in the aging skeletal muscle.

Key words

Aerobic capacity aging β-receptors exercise oxidative capacity skeletal muscle 


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Copyright information

© Springer Internal Publishing Switzerland 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. P. Farrar
    • 1
  • K.A Monnin
    • 1
  • D. E. Fordyce
    • 1
  • T. J. Walters
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of KinesiologyThe University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

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