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'Un-growth hormone' increases longevity, researchers find

Date:
December 23, 2010
Source:
Saint Louis University
Summary:
A compound which acts in the opposite way as growth hormone can reverse some of the signs of aging, a research team has shown. The finding may be counter-intuitive to some older adults who take growth hormone, thinking it will help revitalize them.

Youthful senior couple. A compound which acts in the opposite way as growth hormone can reverse some of the signs of aging, a research team has shown. The finding may be counter-intuitive to some older adults who take growth hormone, thinking it will help revitalize them.
Credit: iStockphoto/Catherine Yeulet

A compound which acts in the opposite way as growth hormone can reverse some of the signs of aging, a research team that includes a Saint Louis University physician has shown. The finding may be counter-intuitive to some older adults who take growth hormone, thinking it will help revitalize them.

Their research was published in the Dec. 6 online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The findings are significant, says John E. Morley, M.D., study co-investigator and director of the divisions of geriatric medicine and endocrinology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine, because people sometimes take growth hormone, believing it will be the fountain of youth.

"Many older people have been taking growth hormone to rejuvenate themselves," Morley said. "These results strongly suggest that growth hormone, when given to middle aged and older people, may be hazardous."

The scientists studied the compound MZ-5-156, a "growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) antagonist." They conducted their research in the SAMP8 mouse model, a strain engineered for studies of the aging process. Overall, the researchers found that MZ-5-156 had positive effects on oxidative stress in the brain, improving cognition, telomerase activity (the actions of an enzyme which protects DNA material) and life span, while decreasing tumor activity.

MZ-5-156, like many GHRH antagonists, inhibited several human cancers, including prostate, breast, brain and lung cancers. It also had positive effects on learning, and is linked to improvements in short-term memory. The antioxidant actions led to less oxidative stress, reversing cognitive impairment in the aging mouse.

William A. Banks, M.D., lead study author and professor of internal medicine and geriatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, said the results lead the team "to determine that antagonists of growth hormone-releasing hormone have beneficial effects on aging."

The study team included as its corresponding author Andrew V. Schally, M.D., Ph.D., a professor in the department of pathology and division of hematology/oncology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Saint Louis University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. W. A. Banks, J. E. Morley, S. A. Farr, T. O. Price, N. Ercal, I. Vidaurre, A. V. Schally. Effects of a growth hormone-releasing hormone antagonist on telomerase activity, oxidative stress, longevity, and aging in mice. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2010; 107 (51): 22272 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1016369107

Cite This Page:

Saint Louis University. "'Un-growth hormone' increases longevity, researchers find." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 December 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101223091746.htm>.
Saint Louis University. (2010, December 23). 'Un-growth hormone' increases longevity, researchers find. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101223091746.htm
Saint Louis University. "'Un-growth hormone' increases longevity, researchers find." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/12/101223091746.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

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