Cholinergic modulation of growth hormone-releasing hormone effects on growth hormone secretion in dementia

Giovanni Murialdo, Francesco Zerbi, Ugo Filippi, Pietro Tosca, Stefano Fonzi, Finita Di Paolo, Falrizia Coslelli, Savino Forro, Alessandro Polleri, Faustino Savoldi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


An impairment of cholinergic and somatostatinergic neurotransmission have been reported in dementia. Both acetylcholine and somatostatin are involved in the regulation of growth hormonc (GH) secretion. The effects of GH-releasing hormone (GHRH) 1-44 on GH release have been studied before and after the pretreatment with pyridostigmine or pirenzepine in subjects with senile dementia of the Alzheimer type, multi-infarct dementia and mixed dementia. The data have been compared with those obtained in an age-matched healthy control group. The GH response to GHRH is similar in the patients and in the controls, though the peak occurrence is significantly delayed in dementia. The Cholinesterase inhibitor pyridostigmine enhances significantly the GH response to GHRH in both groups. The responses obtained in demented subjeets are significantly larger than those found in the controls. Pirenzepine. a muscarinic receptor blocker, inhibits the GHRH effect on GH secretion in both groups. The findings may be interpreted in terms of an underlying impairment of the hypothalamic cholinergic neurotransmission, with an acetylcholine reeeptor supersensitivity that becomes apparent when the cholinergic tonus is enhanced by the inhibition of cholinesterase by pyridostigmine. No significant differences, due to the type of dementia, have been observed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-134
Number of pages6
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1990


  • Cholinergic System
  • Dementia
  • Growth hormone
  • Growth hormone-releasing hormone

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Psychology(all)


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