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Vol. 52, No. 2, 2006
Issue release date: February 2006
Section title: Experimental Section
Gerontology 2006;52:76–84
(DOI:10.1159/000090952)

Growth Hormone Responses to Low-Dose Physostigmine in Elderly vs. Young Women and Men

Rubin R.T. · Miller T.H. · Rhodes M.E. · Czambel R.K.
Department of Psychiatry and Mental Health, VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System, Los Angeles, Calif., and Center for Neurosciences Research, Drexel University College of Medicine, Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, Pa., USA

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Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Experimental Section

Received: 8/20/2004
Accepted: 9/2/2005
Published online: 2/28/2006

Number of Print Pages: 9
Number of Figures: 1
Number of Tables: 3

ISSN: 0304-324X (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0003 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/GER

Abstract

Background: Growth hormone (GH) secretion is a sensitive measure of CNS cholinergic neurotransmission, and GH decreases considerably with age. Cholinesterase inhibitors, which increase acetylcholine concentrations, have been used in elderly subjects to investigate the neuroendocrine effects of aging and Alzheimer’s disease. However, there have been only a few studies of a potential sex difference in GH responses to cholinesterase inhibitors in elderly subjects, with mixed results. Objective: We therefore administered low-dose physostigmine (PHYSO), a cholinesterase inhibitor, to normal, non-hormone-replaced, elderly women and men, to ascertain a potential sex difference in GH response. We hypothesized: (1) elderly women and men would have similar hormone responses, because of relatively low circulating estrogen in the women, and (2) the elderly women would have significantly lower baseline GH and GH responses to cholinergic challenge than the young women we studied previously. Methods: Normal elderly women and men ≧65 years of age meeting stringent inclusion and exclusion criteria were studied on three test days, 4–7 days apart, by serial blood sampling for several hours for baseline GH, followed by administration of low-dose PHYSO (first and third days) or saline (second day) at 18:00 h. Frequent blood sampling was continued for several hours. Plasma GH and hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenal cortical hormones were measured in each sample. Results: PHYSO administration produced no side effects in about half the elderly subjects and mild side effects in the other half, with no significant female-male differences and no significant relationship between the presence or absence of side effects and GH response. PHYSO significantly increased GH compared to saline, to a similar degree in the elderly women and men. The elderly women had a significantly greater GH response to PHYSO than did the young women, whereas GH responses were similar in the elderly and young men. Conclusions: These results indicate similar GH responses to low-dose PHYSO in elderly women compared to elderly men, and a significantly greater GH response in elderly women compared to young women. A likely mechanism is increased sensitivity of central cholinergic systems that inhibit somatostatin and/or enhance GHRH release from the hypothalamus.


  

Author Contacts

Robert T. Rubin
Department of Psychiatry (116A), VA Greater LA Healthcare System
11301 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90073 (USA)
Tel. +1 310 268 3319, Fax +1 310 268 4377, E-Mail robert.rubin@med.va.gov

  

Article Information

Received: August 20, 2004
Accepted: September 2, 2005
Number of Print Pages : 9
Number of Figures : 1, Number of Tables : 3, Number of References : 47

  

Publication Details

Gerontology (International Journal of Experimental, Clinical and Behavioural Gerontology)

Vol. 52, No. 2, Year 2006 (Cover Date: February 2006)

Journal Editor: Meier-Ruge, W. (Basel)
ISSN: 0304–324X (print), 1423–0003 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/GER


Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Experimental Section

Received: 8/20/2004
Accepted: 9/2/2005
Published online: 2/28/2006

Number of Print Pages: 9
Number of Figures: 1
Number of Tables: 3

ISSN: 0304-324X (Print)
eISSN: 1423-0003 (Online)

For additional information: http://www.karger.com/GER


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Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in goverment regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
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