Hypoxia drives aging and promotes age-related cognition and hearing functional decline. Despite the role of erythrocytes in oxygen (O2) transport, their role in the onset of aging and age-related cognitive decline and hearing loss (HL) remains undetermined. Recent studies revealed that signaling through the erythrocyte adenosine A2B receptor (ADORA2B) promotes O2 release to counteract hypoxia at high altitude. However, nothing is known about a role for erythrocyte ADORA2B in age-related functional decline.
Here, we report that loss of murine erythrocyte–specific ADORA2B (eAdora2b−/−) accelerates early onset of age-related impairments in spatial learning, memory, and hearing ability. eAdora2b-/- mice display the early aging-like cellular and molecular features including the proliferation and activation of microglia and macrophages, elevation of pro-inflammatory cytokines, and attenuation of hypoxia-induced glycolytic gene expression to counteract hypoxia in the hippocampus (HIP), cortex, or cochlea. Hypoxia sufficiently accelerates early onset of cognitive and cochlear functional decline and inflammatory response in eAdora2b−/− mice.
Mechanistically, erythrocyte ADORA2B-mediated activation of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and bisphosphoglycerate mutase (BPGM) promotes hypoxic and metabolic reprogramming to enhance production of 2,3-bisphosphoglycerate (2,3-BPG), an erythrocyte-specific metabolite triggering O2 delivery. Significantly, this finding led us to further discover that murine erythroblast ADORA2B and BPGM mRNA levels and erythrocyte BPGM activity are reduced during normal aging. Overall, we determined that erythrocyte ADORA2B–BPGM axis is a key component for anti-aging and anti-age–related functional decline.