Adrenergic Regulation of Energy Metabolism

  • Michael KjærEmail author
  • Kai Lange
Part of the Contemporary Endocrinology book series (COE)


During exercise, energy turnover increases and adrenergic mechanisms play an important role in this regulation. In addition, increased adrenergic activity during exercise also results in an increased heart rate and in an enhanced force of myocardial contraction as well as in vasoconstriction in the splanchnic circulation, in the kidneys, and in noncontracting muscles. These circulatory changes favor a redistribution of blood flow to exercising muscle as well as an increased cardiac output (Rowell. Human circulation regulation during physical stress. Oxford University Press, New York, 1986). Furthermore, the adrenergic activity stimulates sweat glands and thereby influences thermoregulation, and it causes an increased contractility of skeletal muscle as well as influences exercise-induced suppression of components of the human immune system. In the present chapter, it is demonstrated how adrenergic activity can influence substrate mobilization and utilization both directly and indirectly via secretion of hormones.


Sympathetic nerve activity Adrenal medulla Hepatic glucose production Adrenergic activity Glycogen breakdown 


  1. 1.
    Rowell LR. Human circulation regulation during physical stress. New York: Oxford University Press; 1986.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Victor R, Seals DR, Mark AL. Differential control of heart rate and sympathetic nerve activity during dynamic exercise: insight from direct intraneural recordings in humans. J Clin Invest. 1987;79:508–16.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Searls DR, Victor RG, Mark AL. Plasma norepinephrine and muscle sympathetic discharge during rhythmic exercise in humans. J Appl Physiol. 1988;65:940–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Savard G, Richter EA, Strange S, Kiens B, Christensen NJ, Saltin B. Norepinephrine spillover from skeletal muscle during exercise in humans: role of muscle mass. Am J Phys. 1989;257:H1812–8.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Nie ZT, Lisjo S, Åstrand PO, Henriksson J. In-vitro stimulation of the rat epitrochlearis muscle II. Effects of catecholamines and nutrients on protein degradation and amino acid metabolism. Acta Physiol Scand. 1989;135:523–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Esler M, Jennings G, Korner P, Blomberry P, Sacharias N, Leonard P. Measurement of total and organ-specific norepinephrine kinetics in humans. Am J Phys. 1984;247:E21–8.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Kjær M, Christensen NJ, Sonne B, Richter EA, Galbo H. Effect of exercise on epinephrine turnover in trained and untrained male subjects. J Appl Physiol. 1985;59:1061–7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Kjær M, Secher NH, Bach FW, Galbo H. Role of motor center activity for hormonal changes and substrate mobilization in exercising man. Am J Phys. 1987;253:R687–95.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Vissing J, Iwamoto GA, Rybicki KJ, Galbo H, Mitchell JH. Mobilization of glucoregulatory hormones and glucose by hypothalamic locomotor centers. Am J Phys. 1989;257:E722–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Galbo H, Kjær M, Secher NH. Cardiovascular, ventilatory and catecholamine responses to maximal dynamic exercise in partially curarized man. J Physiol. 1987;389:557–68.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Kjær M, Secher NH, Bach FW, Sheikh S, Galbo H. Hormonal and metabolic responses to exercise in humans: effect of sensory nervous blockade. Am J Phys. 1989;257:E95–101.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Kjær M, Secher NH, Bach FW, Galbo H, Reeves DR, Mitchell JH. Hormonal, metabolic and cardiovascular responses to static exercise in man: influence of epidural anesthesia. Am J Phys. 1991;261:214–20.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Klokker M, Kjær M, Secher NH, Hanel B, Worm L, Kappel M, et al. Natural killer cell response to exercise in humans: effect of hypoxia and epidural anesthesia. J Appl Physiol. 1995;78:709–16.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Vissing J, Iwamoto GA, Fuchs IE, Galbo H, Mitchell JH. Reflex control of glucoregulatory exercise responses by group III and IV muscle afferents. Am J Phys. 1994;266:R824–30.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Vissing J, Lewis SF, Galbo H, Haller RG. Effect of deficient muscular glycogenolysis on extramuscular fuel production in exercise. J Appl Physiol. 1992;72:1773–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Vissing J, Galbo H, Haller R. Paradoxically enhanced glucose production during exercise in humans with blocked glycolysis due to muscle phosphofructokinase deficiency. Neurology. 1996;47:766–71.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Vissing J, Galbo H, Haller RG. Exercise fuel mobilization in mitochondrial myopathy: a metabolic dilemma. Ann Neurol. 1996;40:655–62.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Winder WW, Hagberg JM, Hickson RC, Ehsani AA, McLane JA. Time course of sympathoadrenergic adaptation to endurance exercise training in man. J Appl Physiol. 1978;45:370–4.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Svedenhag J. The sympathoadrenal system in physical conditioning. Acta Physiol Scand. 1985;125(Suppl 543):1–74.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Kjær M, Bangsbo J, Lortie G, Galbo H. Hormonal response to exercise in man: influence of hypoxia and physical training. Am J Phys. 1988;254:R197–203.Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Dela F, Mikines KJ, Linstow M, Galbo H. Heart rate and plasma catecholamines during 24 hour everyday life in trained and untrained men. J Appl Physiol. 1992;73:2389–95.PubMedCrossRefPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Kjær M, Mikines KJ, Christensen NJ, Tronier B, Vinten J, Sonne B, et al. Glucose turnover and hormonal changes during insulin-induced hypoglycemia in trained humans. J Appl Physiol. 1984;57:21–7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Kjær M, Farrel PA, Christensen NJ, Galbo H. Increased epinephrine response and inaccurate glucoregulation in exercising athletes. J Appl Physiol. 1986;61:1693–700.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Kjær M, Galbo H. The effect of physical training on the capacity to secrete epinephrine. J Appl Physiol. 1988;64:11–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    LeBlanc J, Jobin M, Cote J, Samson P, Labri A. Enhanced metabolic response to caffeine in exercise-trained human subjects. J Appl Physiol. 1985;59:832–7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Stallknecht B, Kjær M, Ploug T, Maroun L, Ohkuwa T, Vinten J, et al. Diminished epinephrine response to hypoglycemia despite enlarged adrenal medulla in trained rats. Am J Phys. 1990;259:R998–1003.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Kjær M, Mikines KJ, Linstow M, Nicolaisen T, Galbo H. Effect of 5 weeks detraining on epinephrine response to insulin induced hypoglycemia in athletes. J Appl Physiol. 1992;72:1201–5.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Kjær M, Kiens B, Hargreaves M, Richter EA. Influence of active muscle mass on glucose homeostasis during exercise in humans. J Appl Physiol. 1991;71:552–7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Marliss EB, Simantirakis E, Miles PDG, Purnon C, Gougeon R, Field CJ, et al. Glucoregulatory and hormonal responses to repeated bouts of intense exercise in normal male subjects. J Appl Physiol. 1991;71:924–33.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Sigal R, Fisher SF, Halter JB, Vranic M, Marliss EB. The roles of catecholamines in glucoregulation in intense exercise as defined by the islet cell clamp technique. Diabetes. 1996;45:148–56.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Kjær M, Pollack SF, Mohr T, Weiss H, Gleim GW, Bach FW, et al. Regulation of glucose turnover and hormonal responses during exercise: electrical induced cycling in tetraplegic humans. Am J Phys. 1996;271:R191–9.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Richter EA, Galbo H, Holst JJ, Sonne B. Significance of glucagon for insulin secretion and hepatic glycogenolysis during exercise in rats. Horm Metab Res. 1981;13:323–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Sonne B, Mikines KJ, Richter EA, Christensen NJ, Galbo H. Role of liver nerves and adrenal medulla in glucose turnover of running rats. J Appl Physiol. 1985;59:1640–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Arnall DA, Marker JC, Conlee RK, Winder WW. Effect of infusing epinephrine on liver and muscle glycogenolysis during exercise in rats. Am J Phys. 1986;250:E641–9.Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Carlson KI, Marker JC, Arnall DA, Terry ML, Yang HT, Lindsay LG, et al. Epinephrine is unessential for stimulation of liver glycogenolysis during exercise. J Appl Physiol. 1985;58:544–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Marker JC, Arnall DA, Conlee RK, Winder WW. Effect of adrenodemedullation on metabolic responses to high intensity exercise. Am J Phys. 1986;251:R552–9.Google Scholar
  37. 37.
    Winder WW, Arogyasami J, Yang HT, Thompson KG, Nelson A, Kelly KP, et al. Effects of glucose infusion in exercising rats. J Appl Physiol. 1988;64:2300–5.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Moates JM, Lacy DB, Goldstein RE, Cherrington AD, Wasserman DH. The metabolic role of the exercise induced increment in epinephrine in the dog. Am J Phys. 1988;255:E428–36.Google Scholar
  39. 39.
    Hoelzer DR, Dalsky GP, Schwartz NS, Clutter WE, Shah SD, Holloszy JO, et al. Epinephrine is not critical to prevention of hypoglycemia during exercise in humans. Am J Phys. 1986;251:E104–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. 40.
    Wasserman DH, Williams PE, Lacy DB, Bracy D, Cherrington AD. Hepatic nerves are not essential to the increase in hepatic glucose production during muscular work. Am J Phys. 1990;259:E195–203.Google Scholar
  41. 41.
    Wasserman DH, Cherrington AD. Regulation of extramuscular fuel sources during exercise. In: Rowell LB, Shepherd JT, editors. Handbook of physiology. Columbia: Bermedica Production; 1996. p. 1036–74.Google Scholar
  42. 42.
    Kjær M, Engfred K, Fernandes A, Secher NH, Galbo H. Regulation of hepatic glucose production during exercise in man: role of sympathoadrenergic activity. Am J Phys. 1993;265:E275–83.Google Scholar
  43. 43.
    Kjær M, Keiding S, Engfred K, Rasmussen K, Sonne B, Kirkegård P, et al. Glucose homeostasis during exercise in humans with a liver or kidney transplant. Am J Phys. 1995;268:E636–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. 44.
    Kjær M, Jurlander J, Keiding S, Galbo H, Kirkegaard P, Hage E. No reinnervation of hepatic sympathetic nerves after liver transplantation in human subjects. J Hepatol. 1994;20:97–100.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. 45.
    Coker RH, Krishna MG, Brooks Lacy D, Allen EJ, Wasserman DH. Sympathetic drive to liver and nonhepatic splanchnic tissue during heavy exercise. J Appl Physiol. 1997;82:1244–9.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. 46.
    Coker RH, Krishna MG, Brooks Lacy D, Bracy DP, Wasserman DH. Role of hepatic alpha- and beta-adrenergic receptor stimulation on hepatic glucose production during heavy exercise. Am J Phys. 1997;273:E831–8.Google Scholar
  47. 47.
    Richter EA. Glucose utilization. In: Rowell LB, Shepherd JT, editors. Handbook of physiology 1997. Columbia: Bermedica Production; 1996. p. 912–51.Google Scholar
  48. 48.
    Ploug T, Galbo H, Richter EA. Increased muscle glucose uptake during contractions: no need for insulin. Am J Phys. 1984;247:E726–31.Google Scholar
  49. 49.
    Issekutz B. Effect of epinephrine on carbohydrate metabolism in exercising dogs. Metabolism. 1985;34:457–64.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. 50.
    Jansson E, Hjemdahl P, Kaijser L. Epinephrine-induced changes in muscle carbohydrate metabolism during exercise in male subjects. J Appl Physiol. 1986;60:1466–70.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. 51.
    Richter EA, Ruderman NB, Gavras H, Belur ER, Galbo H. Muscle glycogenolysis during exercise: dual control by epinephrine and contractions. Am J Phys. 1982;242:E25–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. 52.
    Spriet LL, Ren JM, Hultman E. Epinephrine infusion enhances glycogenolysis during prolonged electrical stimulation. J Appl Physiol. 1988;64:1439–44.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. 53.
    Chesley A, Hultman E, Spriet LL. Effects of epinephrine infusion on muscle glycogenolysis during intense aerobic exercise. Am J Phys. 1995;268:E127–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. 54.
    Richter EA, Galbo H, Christensen NJ. Control of exercise induced muscular glycogenolysis by adrenal medullary hormones in rats. J Appl Physiol. 1981;50:21–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. 55.
    Wahrenberg H, Engfeldt P, Bolinder J, Arner P. Acute adaptation in adrenergic control of lipolysis during physical exercise in humans. Am J Phys. 1987;253:E383–90.Google Scholar
  56. 56.
    Arner P, Kriegholm E, Engfeldt P, Bolinder J. Adrenergic regulation of lipolysis in situ at rest and during exercise. J Clin Invest. 1990;85:893–8.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. 57.
    Stallknecht B, Bülow J, Frandsen E, Galbo H. Desensitization of human adipose tissue to adrenaline stimulation studied by microdialysis. J Physiol. 1997;500:271–82.PubMedPubMedCentralCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. 58.
    Karlsson AK, Elam M, Friberg P, Biering-Sørensen F, Sullivan L, Lønnroth P. Regulation of lipolysis by the sympathetic nervous system: a microdialysis study in normal and spinal cord injured subjects. Metabolism. 1997;46:388–94.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. 59.
    Oscai LB, Essig DA, Palmer WK. Lipase regulation of muscle triglyceride hydrolysis. J Appl Physiol. 1990;69:1571–7.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Clinical MedicineBispebjerg-Frederiksberg HospitalCopenhagenDenmark

Personalised recommendations