With advancing age most aspects of the peptidergic regulation of energy balance are altered. The alteration involves both the peripheral peptides derived from the adipose tissue or the gastrointestinal tract and the peptides of the central nervous system (brainstem and hypothalamus). In general, the expression of orexigenic peptides and their receptors decreases with age, while that of the anorexic ones rather increases, but not simultaneously and not in a linear fashion. Apart from such quantitative changes, the efficacy of the related peptides may also change with age. These changes are not necessarily linear, either: instead of continuous decline or increase of its effects, the effects of a peptide may become less pronounced in some phases of aging and much enhanced in other ones. Comparing the individual peptides, the phasic alterations in their anabolic or catabolic roles in the regulation of energy balance may exhibit dissimilar time-patterns. In addition, within the overall anabolic or catabolic effects, the feeding and metabolic actions of certain peptides may not change simultaneously. Altogether, as compared with young adults, in middle-aged animals or individuals the anabolic processes (increased food intake with decreased energy expenditure) seem to prevail, which processes may contribute to the explanation of age-related obesity, while in the old ones the catabolic processes (anorexia with enhanced metabolic rate) dominate, which possibly explain the aging anorexia, frailty and sarcopenia.
Keywords: Aging, anabolic peptides, catabolic peptides, body weight, body composition, metabolic rate, food intake, body temperature, Insulin resistance, leptin, adiposity, adipokines, central processes, cytokines, peripheral target tissues, visceral fat, obesity
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