The Catalytic Subunit β of PKA Affects Energy Balance and Catecholaminergic Activity

J Endocr Soc. 2019 Mar 28;3(5):1062-1078. doi: 10.1210/js.2019-00029. eCollection 2019 May 1.


The protein kinase A (PKA) signaling system mediates the effects of numerous hormones, neurotransmitters, and other molecules to regulate metabolism, cardiac function, and more. PKA defects may lead to diverse phenotypes that largely depend on the unique expression profile of the affected subunit. Deletion of the Prkarcb gene, which codes for PKA catalytic subunit β (Cβ), protects against diet-induced obesity (DIO), yet the mechanism for this phenotype remains unclear. We hypothesized that metabolic rate would be increased in Cβ knockout (KO) mice, which could explain DIO resistance. Male, but not female, CβKO mice had increased energy expenditure, and female but not male CβKO mice had increased subcutaneous temperature and increased locomotor activity compared with wild-type (WT) littermates. Urinary norepinephrine (NE) and normetanephrine were elevated in female CβKO mice. CβKO mice had increased heart rate (HR); blocking central NE release normalized HR to that of untreated WT mice. Basal and stimulated PKA enzymatic activities were unchanged in adipose tissue and heart and varied in different brain regions, suggesting that Prkacb deletion may mediate signaling changes in specific brain nuclei and may be less important in the peripheral regulation of PKA expression and activity. This is a demonstration of a distinct effect of the PKA Cβ catalytic subunit on catecholamines and sympathetic nerve signaling. The data provide an unexpected explanation for the metabolic phenotype of CβKO mice. Finally, the sexual dimorphism is consistent with mouse models of other PKA subunits and adds to the importance of these findings regarding the PKA system in human metabolism.

Keywords: PKA; cardiovascular; catecholamines; energy balance; sympathetic outflow.