What is hyposomatotropism of aging (somatopause)?

Updated: Apr 14, 2020
  • Author: Angela Gentili, MD; Chief Editor: George T Griffing, MD  more...
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The decrease in lean body mass and increase in adipose tissue that occurs with aging have been suggested to be partly due to the age-associated decrease in growth hormone (GH) secretion and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), also known as somatomedin C, which is produced by the liver and other tissues in response to GH. This decline in the secretory activity of the GH–IGF-1 axis has been termed somatopause or hyposomatotropism of aging. Hyposomatotropism of aging is associated with age-related loss of vitality and vigor, muscle mass, and physical function. In addition, frailty, central adiposity, accelerated risks for cardiovascular complications, and deterioration of mental function can occur. [1]

The pathophysiology of somatopause is confounded by several variables that can contribute to the decline in GH secretion associated with aging: adiposity, decreased production of sex steroid hormones, decreased physical fitness, fragmented sleep, and malnutrition (see Pathophysiology).

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