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Blocking Growth Hormone Could Reverse Aging

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Growth hormone may not help people live longer.

Scientists found blocking growth hormone with a compound called MZ-5-156, might actually help people live longer and reverse signs of aging, contrary to current thinking.

The researchers say the study is important because many older adults use growth hormone, thinking it is the fountain of youth, when instead it may be just the opposite and hazardous.

The study, published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showed that blocking growth hormone in mice with a compound called MZ-5-156 improved cognition and activity of telomerase that protects DNA from damage that could increase lifespan.

They also found decreased tumor activity in the mice that are genetically engineered for studying the aging process. John E. Morley, M.D., study co-investigator and director of the divisions of geriatric medicine and endocrinology at Saint Louis University School of Medicine says sometime people take growth hormone because they think it will be the fountain of youth.

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MZ-5-156 that is a “growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) antagonist", inhibited a variety of cancers, including prostate, breast, brain and lung cancers." The ability of many GHRH antagonists for curbing cancer has been noted in the past.

In the aging mice, MZ-5-156 improved short-term memory and reversed oxidative stress in the brain, in turn reversing memory loss.

William A. Banks, M.D., lead study author and professor of internal medicine and geriatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, said the findings from the research team, "determine that antagonists of growth hormone-releasing hormone have beneficial effects on aging.”

Contrary to the popular belief that growth hormone may be the "fountain-of-youth", the new findings show that blocking the effect of growth hormone with the growth hormone releasing compound MZ-5-156, reversed signs of aging in mice and inhibited several types of cancer.

doi: 10.1073/pnas.1016369107