Growth hormone (GH) secretion declines during normal aging, resulting in lower serum insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I levels. It has been proposed that many of the catabolic changes seen in normal aging, including osteoporosis and muscle atrophy, are in part caused by the decreased action of the GH-IGF-I axis. In addition, patients with GH deficiency have increased overall cardiovascular mortality. Several investigators have initiated GH treatment for elderly patients with relative hyposomatotropinemia. Initial receptors suggest that GH can increase muscle mass, improve exercise tolerance, increase REM sleep and cause an enhanced sense of well-being. The basis for neuropsychiatric changes during GH therapy may be due to a direct CNS action of GH itself, to the increased IGF-I secretion which GH elicits, or to enhanced functioning of peripheral organ systems. Long-term studies will determine whether GH or IGF-I can exert a neurotrophic action in the aging brain.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
- Psychiatry and Mental health
- Biological Psychiatry