Clinical implications of the reduced activity of the GH-IGF-I axis in older men.

G. P. Ceda, E. Dall'Aglio, M. Maggio, F. Lauretani, S. Bandinelli, C. Falzoi, W. Grimaldi, G. Ceresini, F. Corradi, L. Ferrucci, G. Valenti, A. R. Hoffman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During the last decade, a significant body of evidence has accumulated, indicating that IGF-I might play a role in several pathological conditions commonly seen during aging, such as atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease (CVD), cognitive decline, dementia, sarcopenia and frailty. A vascular protective role for IGF-I has been suggested because of its ability to stimulate nitric oxide production from endothelial and vascular smooth muscle cells. In cross sectional studies, low IGF-I levels have been associated with unfavorable CVD risk factors profile, such as atherosclerosis, abnormal lipoprotein levels and hypertension, while in prospective studies, lower IGF-I levels predict future development of ischemic heart disease. The fall in IGF-I levels with aging correlates with cognitive decline and it has been suggested that IGF-I plays a role in the development of dementia. IGF-I is highly expressed within the brain and is essential for normal brain development. IGF-I has anti-apoptotic and neuroprotective effects and promotes projection neuron growth, dendritic arborization and synaptogenesis. Collectively, these data are consistent with a causal link between the age-related decline in GH and IGF-I levels and cognitive deficits in older persons. Finally, there is evidence of a relationship between declining GH and IGF-I levels and age-related changes in body composition and physical function. However, few studies have documented a precise role of IGF-I in the development of sarcopenia, frailty and poor mobility. We have recently documented that serum IGF-I is significantly associated with measures of muscle strength and physical performance in men and to a lesser extent in women. In conclusion, IGF-I is a pleiotropic hormone that in older persons may positively affect the cardiovascular system, the central nervous system and physical function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)96-100
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Endocrinological Investigation
Issue number11 Suppl Proceedings
StatePublished - 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology


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