Back to Journals » Clinical Interventions in Aging » Volume 3 » Issue 1

Growth hormone (GH)-releasing hormone and GH secretagogues in normal aging: Fountain of Youth or Pool of Tantalus?

Authors Hersch EC, Merriam GR, Macario E

Published 7 March 2008 Volume 2008:3(1) Pages 121—129

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/CIA.S3247

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3


Elizabeth C Hersch, George R Merriam

VA Puget Sound Health Care System and University of Washington School of Medicine, Tacoma and Seattle, Washington USA

Abstract: Although growth hormone (GH) is primarily associated with linear growth in childhood, it continues to have important metabolic functions in adult life. Adult GH deficiency (AGHD) is a distinct clinical entity, and GH replacement in AGHD can improve body composition, strength, aerobic capacity, and mood, and may reduce vascular disease risk. While there are some hormone-related side effects, the balance of benefits and risks is generally favorable, and several countries have approved GH for clinical use in AGHD. GH secretion declines progressively and markedly with aging, and many age-related changes resemble those of partial AGHD. This suggests that replacing GH, or stimulating GH with GH-releasing hormone or a GH secretagogue could confer benefits in normal aging similar to those observed in AGHD – in particular, could reduce the loss of muscle mass, strength, and exercise capacity leading to frailty, thereby prolonging the ability to live independently. However, while most GH studies have shown body composition effects similar to those in AGHD, functional changes have been much less inconsistent, and older adults are more sensitive to GH side effects. Preliminary reports of improved cognition are encouraging, but the overall balance of benefits and risks of GH supplementation in normal aging remains uncertain.

Keywords: growth hormone, growth hormone-releasing hormone, growth hormone secretagogues, aging, sarcopenia, frailty

Creative Commons License This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution - Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License. By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms.

Download Article [PDF]