Can growth hormone (GH) accelerate aging? Evidence from GH-transgenic mice

Neuroendocrinology. 2003 Oct;78(4):210-6. doi: 10.1159/000073704.


Overexpression of heterologous growth hormone (GH) in transgenic mice results in numerous phenotypic effects, including a drastically shortened life span. Early onset of pathological changes in the kidneys, glomerulosclerosis and glomerulonephritis, undoubtedly contributes to and perhaps accounts for reduced longevity of these animals. However, GH-transgenic mice exhibit various symptoms of accelerated aging, including increased astrogliosis, shortened reproductive life span, and early onset of age-related changes in cognitive function, hypothalamic neurotransmitter turnover, and plasma corticosterone levels. The hypothesis that supraphysiological levels of GH can accelerate aging derives indirect support from findings in GH-deficient and GH-resistant mutant mice in which aging is delayed and the life-span is increased and from the reciprocal relationship of body size and longevity within species.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Body Constitution
  • Body Weight
  • Female
  • Growth Hormone / genetics
  • Growth Hormone / physiology*
  • Hypothalamo-Hypophyseal System
  • Longevity / physiology*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Mice, Transgenic*
  • Models, Animal*
  • Organ Size
  • Pituitary-Adrenal System
  • Reproduction


  • Growth Hormone