Growth hormone-mediated alteration of fuel metabolism in the aged rat as determined from transcript profiles

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Physiological Genomics






Aging; Body composition; cDNA microarray; Growth hormone


Age-related changes in body composition and serum lipids resemble symptoms of adult-onset growth hormone (GH) deficiency. GH treatment has been shown to normalize these changes in both GH-deficient adult patients and elderly subjects. The aim of this study was to identify GH-responsive genes that might mediate positive effects of GH treatment on fuel metabolism and body composition. cDNA microarrays were used to analyze age- and GH-induced changes in gene expression patterns in male rats. Tissues analyzed were liver, adipose tissue, and skeletal muscle from animals on or off GH treatment. A value of 1.5 was chosen to denote differences (increased or decreased expression) in the level of mRNA expression. In the liver, 7.3% of the expressed genes were affected by age and 6.5% by GH. Similar values for the other tissues were 8.3% and 5.3% (fat), and 7.9% and 9.6% (muscle), respectively. Among the differentially expressed genes, we identified several that encode proteins involved in fuel metabolism. Old rats were shown to have induced expression of genes involved in hepatic glucose oxidation and lipid synthesis, whereas these pathways were reduced in adipose tissue. GH treatment induced the expression of genes for lipid oxidation in liver and for glucose oxidation in skeletal muscle. In adipose tissue, GH reduced the expression of genes involved in lipogenesis even further. Changes in transcript levels were reflected in serum in terms of altered lipid profiles. Serum levels of triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, and total cholesterol were higher in the old animals than in the young and normalized by GH treatment.

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