The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism

Endogenous Estrogen Regulates Somatostatin-Induced Rebound GH Secretion in Postmenopausal Women.

PMID 27459535


Systemic concentrations of T, estradiol (E2), GH, IGF-1, and IGF binding protein-3 decline in healthy aging individuals. Conversely, T and E2 stimulate GH and IGF-1 production in hypogonadal patients. Because E2 stimulates GH secretion, putatively via the nuclear estrogen receptor-α and E2 and GH fall with menopause, we postulated that diminished endogenous E2 contributes to low GH output in older women. The study was conducted at the Mayo Center for Clinical and Translational Science. This was a randomized, double-blind, controlled study in 60 healthy postmenopausal women treated with the following: 1) double placebo; 2) anastrozole, a potent inhibitor of aromatase-enzyme activity, which mediates E2 synthesis from T; and/or 3) fulvestrant, a selective estrogen receptor-α antagonist. GH pulse generation was quantified by frequent GH sampling before and after short-term iv somatostatin infusion, thought to induce hypothalamic GHRH-mediated rebound-like GH secretion. On anastrozole, E2 fell from 3.1 ± 0.35 pg/mL to 0.36 ± 0.04 pg/mL, and estrone from 13 ± 1.4 pg/mL to 1.9 ± 0.01 pg/mL (P < .001) by mass spectrometry. Estrogen values were unchanged by fulvestrant. T concentrations did not change. One-hour peak GH rebound after somatostatin infusion declined markedly during both estrogen-deprivation schedules (P < .001). Mean (150 min) maximal GH rebound decreased comparably (P < .001). Measures of GH rebound correlated negatively with computed tomography-estimated abdominal visceral fat (all P < .05). These data suggest a previously unrecognized dependence of hypothalamo-pituitary GH regulation on low levels of endogenous estrogen after menopause.