Reduced efficacy of growth hormone-releasing hormone in modulating sleep endocrine activity in the elderly.Neurobiol Aging. 1997 Sep-Oct; 18(5):491-5.NA
In aging, a decline in sleep continuity, a decreased slow wave sleep, an earlier nocturnal cortisol rise, and a blunted growth hormone (GH) secretion occur. Pulsatile administration of GH-releasing hormone (GHRH) in young controls enhanced slow wave sleep and suppressed cortisol release. We administered GHRH 4 x 50 microg or placebo i.v. to 13 healthy seniors (5 women, 8 men, mean age 69.3 y +/- 8.3 SD). We observed significantly reduced nocturnal awakenings and an increased first non-rapid-eye-movement sleep period. In a subgroup (n = 9), we found a significant activation of GH secretion but unchanged cortisol secretion. Our data underscore that GHRH is capable of promoting sleep in the elderly, but much less than in young subjects. Contrasting to young subjects, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenocortical system remains unaffected by GHRH in the elderly. These results provide further evidence that a decrease in the efficacy of GHRH is involved in the biological mechanisms underlying aging.