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Ageing Res Rev. 2008 Jul;7(3):189-208. doi: 10.1016/j.arr.2007.12.005. Epub 2008 Jan 5.

Aging and hormones of the hypothalamo-pituitary axis: gonadotropic axis in men and somatotropic axes in men and women.

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Endocrine Research Unit, Department of Internal Medicine, Mayo Clinical Translational Research Center, School of Graduate Medical Education, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.


Neuroendocrinology of the aging (male) gonadal and (male and female) somatotropic axes will be reviewed. A companion chapter discusses reproductive hormonal changes in aging women. Both the gonadal and growth-hormone/insulin-like growth factor (GH/IGF-I) axes function as ensembles. The ensembles comprise tripartite interactions among the brain (hypothalamus), anterior pituitary gland (gonadotrope and somatotrope cells) and target organs (testis, liver, muscle, fat and brain). Compelling evidence indicates that combined hypothalamic and gonadal adaptations operate in the reproductive axis of older men, and multiple hypothalamic adaptations prevail in the GH axis of elderly men and women. Evolving investigative methods allow more precise parsing of the particular mechanisms that subserve such age-related changes, and suggest novel interventional strategies to evaluate the physiological impact of the dynamic alterations discerned in aging individuals.

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