Faculty Research 1990 - 1999


Does growth hormone prevent or accelerate aging?

Document Type


Publication Date


JAX Source

Exp Gerontol 1998 Nov-Dec;33(7-8):675-87


HD20001/HD/NICHD, HD20033/HD/NICHD, AG14193/AG/NIA


It is very well documented that plasma growth hormone (GH) levels decline with age in the human and in experimental animals, and there is considerable evidence that age-related changes in body composition may be caused by reduced function of the GH-IGF-I system. However, excessive GH levels are associated with reduced life expectancy in acromegalic patients and with symptoms of accelerated aging in GH transgenic mice. Hereditary dwarf mice deficient in GH, prolactin, and TSH live much longer than their normal siblings. Possible mechanisms of delayed aging in dwarf mice include lower core body temperature and reduced oxidative processes. It is suggested that the controversies concerning the apparent potential of GH to both prevent and accelerate aging may be reconciled by interpreting the results in light of the negative relationship between body size and life span within a species.