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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2002 Nov;87(11):5160-7.

Aging-related changes in release of growth hormone and luteinizing hormone in female rhesus monkeys.

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Wisconsin Primate Research Center, 1223 Capitol Court, Madison, Wisconsin 53715, USA.


A decline in somatic function with aging in women is associated with a decrease in GH release and a loss of estrogen after menopause. As an initial step to establish a monkey model for the neuroendocrine mechanisms underlying somatopause and menopause, we have conducted three experiments in unrestrained aged (approximately 25.7-yr-old) and young (approximately 5.4-yr-old) female rhesus monkeys. GH release was pulsatile, and mean GH release and pulse amplitude were significantly lower in aged monkeys than in young monkeys. Injection of GHRH alone, GH-releasing peptide-2 alone, or the combination of both induced an increase in GH release in both age groups. The mean LH level, pulse amplitude, and baseline LH levels were significantly higher in aged animals than in young animals. Both estrogen and IGF-I levels were lower in aged than young monkeys. These results suggest that in female rhesus monkeys 1) there is a clear decline in circulating GH and IGF-I levels with aging; 2) GHRH and GH-releasing peptide-2 stimulate GH release synergistically; and 3) circulating LH levels increase as estrogen decreases with aging. These results indicate that the rhesus monkey is an excellent model for studies of the neuroendocrine mechanisms of aging.

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