Prolonged exposure of many types of cells to drugs or hormones that inhibit the activity of the enzyme adenylate cyclase, such as narcotics and alpha 2-adrenergic agonists, leads to enhanced accumulation of cAMP upon removal of the inhibitory drug. We have found previously that chronic infusion of the adenosine A1 receptor agonist phenylisopropyladenosine (PIA), an inhibitor of adenylate cyclase, into rats leads to enhanced isoproterenol-stimulated cAMP accumulation in adipocytes isolated from these animals. The enhanced cAMP accumulation was associated with an impaired ability of PIA to inhibit lipolysis in these cells. In the present study we have investigated the mechanism of the enhanced cAMP accumulation in adipocytes from PIA-infused rats and the relationship of these changes to the impaired antilipolytic action of the drug. The enhanced isoproterenol-stimulated cAMP accumulation in adipocytes prepared from PIA-infused rats was due to both an increased rate of cAMP synthesis and a decreased rate of cAMP metabolism at high concentrations of cAMP without a change in phosphodiesterase activity. There was heterologous desensitization of the ability of PIA, prostaglandin E1, and nicotinic acid to inhibit cAMP accumulation in the adipocytes from PIA-infused rats; there was an increase in the EC50 of each of these agonists, although maximal inhibition of cAMP accumulation was similar. The relationship between the activation of cAMP-dependent kinase and extent of lipolysis was similar in the two groups of cells. We demonstrated that the explanation for the impaired ability of PIA to decrease the rate of isoproterenol (10(-7) M)-stimulated lipolysis in the cells from the PIA-infused rats was due to the markedly increased concentrations of cAMP in these cells, which led to sufficient activation of the kinase to maintain a high rate of lipolysis even in the presence of PIA. In addition, we found that the changes induced by the PIA infusion were largely reversible over a 2-day period after discontinuing the PIA infusion. These results demonstrate that adipocytes from PIA-infused rats provide an interesting model to investigate the mechanisms of tolerance to inhibitory drugs.
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