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Growth hormone, insulin-like growth factor-1 and the aging cardiovascular system

Growth hormone, insulin-like growth factor-1 and the aging cardiovascular system

Cardiovascular Research 54(1): 25-35

There is a large body of evidence that biological aging is related to a series of long-term catabolic processes resulting in decreased function and structural integrity of several physiological systems, among which is the cardiovascular system. These changes in the aging phenotype are correlated with a decline in the amplitude of pulsatile growth hormone secretion and the resulting decrease in plasma levels of its anabolic mediator, insulin like growth factor-1 (IGF-1). The relationship between growth hormone and biological aging is supported by studies demonstrating that growth hormone administration to old animals and humans raises plasma IGF-1 and results in increases in skeletal muscle and lean body mass, a decrease in adiposity, increased immune function, improvements in learning and memory, and increases in cardiovascular function. Since growth hormone and IGF-1 exert potent effects on the heart and vasculature, the relationship between age-related changes in cardiovascular function and the decline in growth hormone levels with age have become of interest. Among the age-related changes in the cardiovascular system are decreases in myocyte number, accumulation of fibrosis and collagen, decreases in stress-induced cardiac function through deterioration of the myocardial conduction system and beta-adrenergic receptor function, decreases in exercise capacity, vessel rarefaction, decreased arterial compliance and endothelial dysfunction leading to alterations in blood flow. Growth hormone has been found to exert potent effects on cardiovascular function in young animals and reverses many of the deficits in cardiovascular function in aged animals and humans. Nevertheless, it has been difficult to separate the effects of growth hormone deficiency from age-related diseases and associated pathologies. The development of novel animal models and additional research are required in order to elucidate the specific effects of growth hormone deficiency and assess its contribution to cardiovascular impairments and biological aging.

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Accession: 010727055

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PMID: 12062358

DOI: 10.1016/s0008-6363(01)00533-8

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