Growth hormone in postmenopausal women after long-term oral estrogen replacement therapy

J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 1998 Mar;53(2):B117-24. doi: 10.1093/gerona/53a.2.b117.


Studies of estrogen effects on growth hormone (GH) and its pulsatile release in postmenopausal women have typically utilized estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) of relatively short duration (days to weeks). The purpose of this study was to compare GH measures from healthy postmenopausal women who were on oral ERT for 3 years or more (n = 24; mean ERT duration = 16.1 years) with women not on ERT (NERT; n = 40). Blood samples were drawn remotely every 20 min for 24 h and then analyzed for mean 24-h GH, mean GH during sleep, and mean 24-h insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I). GH peak analyses were also performed. Mean 24-h GH and GH during sleep were significantly higher and IGF-I was significantly lower in ERT women compared with NERT women. In addition, use of long-term ERT was associated with more GH peaks relative to women not on ERT, but no change in GH peak amplitude or area. GH was not related to age in either group. GH was strongly and negatively correlated with measures of adiposity in NERT women but not in ERT women. In conclusion, long-term oral ERT is associated with increased circulating GH and decreased IGF-I levels, even after many years of treatment.

Publication types

  • 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

  • Administration, Oral
  • Aged
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy*
  • Female
  • Human Growth Hormone / blood*
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / analysis
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Middle Aged
  • Postmenopause / blood*
  • Reference Values
  • Sleep / physiology


  • Human Growth Hormone
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I