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Semin Vasc Med. 2004 May;4(2):167-72.

The role of the somatotropic system in cognition and other cerebral functions.

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Department of Clinical Endocrinology, University Medical Centre, Utrecht, The Netherlands.


Growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) receptors can be found in several areas of the brain. GH receptors are mainly found in the choroid plexus, thalamus, hypothalamus, pituitary, putamen, and hippocampus, whereas IGF-1 receptors are mainly concentrated in the hippocampus and parahippocampal areas. In early life, GH and IGF-1 have an important role in the development and differentiation of the central nervous system. In the more developed central nervous system, GH and IGF-1 are thought to have a variety of functions such as a neuroprotective function, an appetite increasing function, various cognitive functions, and perhaps a blood flow-regulating function. In GH-deficient children and adults, improvement of cognitive functions was observed after the administration of GH. Furthermore, specific cognitive functions in healthy older subjects may improve after increasing GH or IGF-1 levels.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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