Cortisol and GH secretory dynamics, and their interrelationships, in healthy aged women and men

Jeffrey A. Gusenoff, S. Mitchell Harman, Johannes D. Veldhuis, Jocelyn J. Jayme, Carol St. Clair, Thomas Münzer, Colleen Christmas, Kieran G. O'Connor, Thomas E. Stevens, Michele F. Bellantoni, Katherine Pabst, Marc R. Blackman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


We studied 130 healthy aged women (n = 57) and men (n = 73), age 65-88 yr, with age-related reductions in insulin-like growth factor I and gonadal steroid levels to assess the interrelationships between cortisol and growth hormone (GH) secretion and whether these relationships differ by sex. Blood was sampled every 20 min from 8:00 PM to 8:00 AM; cortisol was measured by RIA and GH by immunoradiometric assay, followed by deconvolution analyses of hormone secretory parameters and assessment of approximate entropy (ApEn) and cross-ApEn. Cortisol mass/burst, cortisol production rate, and mean and integrated serum cortisol concentrations (P < 0.0005), and overnight basal GH secretion (P < 0.05), were elevated in women vs. men. Integrated cortisol concentrations were directly related to most measures of GH secretion in women (P < 0.01) and with mean and integrated GH concentrations in men (P < 0.05). Integrated GH concentrations were directly related to mean and integrated cortisol levels in women (P < 0.005) and men (P < 0.05), with no sex differences. There were no sex differences in cortisol or GH ApEn values; however, the cross-ApEn score was greater in women (P < 0.05), indicating reduced GH-cortisol pattern synchrony in aged women vs. men. There were no significant relationships of integrated cortisol secretion with GH ApEn, or vice versa, in either sex. Thus postmenopausal women appear to maintain elevated cortisol production in patterns that are relatively uncoupled from those of GH, whereas mean hormone outputs remain correlated.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E616-E625
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number4 43-4
StatePublished - Apr 2001


  • Aging
  • Approximate entropy
  • Hormone secretion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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