Enhanced voluntary wheel running in GPRC6A receptor knockout mice

Physiol Behav. 2013 Jun 13:118:144-51. doi: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2013.05.015. Epub 2013 May 14.


GPRC6A is an amino acid-sensing receptor highly expressed in the brain and in skeletal muscle. Although recent evidence suggests that genetically engineered GPRC6A receptor knockout (KO) mice are susceptible to develop subtle endocrine and metabolic disturbances, the underlying disruptions in energy metabolism are largely unexplored. Based on GPRC6A's expression pattern and ligand preferences, we hypothesize that the receptor may impact energy metabolism via regulating physical activity levels. Thus, in the present study, we exposed GPRC6A receptor KO mice and their wild-type (WT) littermates to voluntary wheel running and forced treadmill exercise. Moreover, we assessed energy expenditure in the basal state, and evaluated the effects of wheel running on food intake, body composition, and a range of exercise-induced central and peripheral biomarkers. We found that adaptation to voluntary wheel running is affected by GPRC6A, as ablation of the receptor significantly enhances wheel running in KO relative to WT mice. Both genotypes responded to voluntary exercise by increasing food intake and improving body composition to a similar degree. In conclusion, these data demonstrate that the GPRC6A receptor is involved in regulating exercise behaviour. Future studies are highly warranted to delineate the underlying molecular details and to assess if these findings hold any translational value.

Keywords: Energy balance; Exercise; GPRC6A; Reward; Wheel running.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blotting, Western
  • Body Composition / genetics
  • Body Composition / physiology
  • Calorimetry, Indirect
  • Corticosterone / blood
  • Eating / physiology
  • Energy Metabolism / genetics
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology
  • Heat-Shock Proteins / metabolism
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Motor Activity / genetics*
  • Motor Activity / physiology*
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Nucleus Accumbens / physiology
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled / genetics*
  • Reward
  • Running / physiology


  • GPRC6A protein, mouse
  • Heat-Shock Proteins
  • Receptors, G-Protein-Coupled
  • Corticosterone