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Adenosine/A2B Receptor Agonists for the Treatment of Age-Related Muscle Loss

Dr Thorsten Gnad, University of Bonn; Prof. Alexander Pfeifer, University of Bonn; Dr Francesca Copperi, University of Bonn; Prof. Bernd K. Fleischmann, University of Bonn; Dr Saskia Haufs-Brusberg, University of Bonn; Dr Aileen Hochhäuser, University of Bonn; Dr Jennifer Naumann, University of Bonn; Dr Laia Reverte-Salisa, University of Bonn; Prof. Daniela Wenzel, University of Bonn

PROvendis GmbH


Sarcopenia is a muscle loss that happens during aging or immobility and leads to an impaired quality of life and disability in patients affected. Estimated prevalence in 60-70 year old people is 5-13% and increases to 11-50% in people over 80 years of age. In aging populations, sarcopenia has a major public health impact, as it is predictor of adverse outcomes including increased disability, falls and mortality. Yet, the disease is considered to be underrecognized, in particular as sarcopenia is often associated with obesity. Specific treatment options are limited.


The inventors found that adenosine A2B receptors are highly expressed in both brown adipose tissue and skeletal muscle. Activation of adenosine A2B receptors by specific agonists leads to increased energy expenditure in brown adipose tissue and an increase in muscle strength as shown in in-vitro and in-vivo experiments. Skeletal muscle specific A2B ablation in mice lead to a sarcopenic phenotype whereas pharmacological A2B activation showed rather the opposite effect. These data suggest that adenosine A2B receptor activation could be a novel treatment option for patients suffering from sarcopenia.

Commercial Opportunity

The inventors look for a partnership for further co-development of the invention, alternatively, the invention may be out-licensed as well. 

Development Status

Extensive in-vitro and in-vivo studies corroborate the viability of deploying adenosine A2B receptor agonists in the treatment of sarcopenia.

Patent Situation

A Germen and a European Patent application have been filed.

Further Reading

T. Gnad et al.: Cell Metabolism 32, 56–70, July 7, 2020; DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2020.06.006

A. Morris: Nature Reviews Endocrinology 16, 472–473, 2020; DOI: 10.1038/s41574-020-0388-y


Adenosine/A2B Receptor Agonists for the Treatment of Age-Related Muscle Loss