Hypothalamus-hypophysis-thyroid axis function in healthy aging

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There is an increased frequency of dysthyroidism in elderly people. We investigated whether there are differences among healthy young-middle-aged and elderly people in the 24-hour secretory profiles of TRH, TSH and free thyroxine. The study was carried out on fifteen healthy young-middle-aged subjects (range 36-55 years, mean age±s.e. 44.1±1.7) and fifteen healthy elderly subjects (range 67-79 years, mean age±s.e. 68.5±1.2). TRH, TSH and free thyroxine serum levels were measured in blood samples collected every four hours for 24 hours. The area under the curve (AUC), the mean of 06:00h-10:00h-14:00h and the mean of 18:00h-22:00h-02:00h hormone serum levels and the presence of circadian rhythmicity were evaluated. A normal circadian rhythmicity was recognizable for TRH and TSH in young-middle-aged subjects and for TSH in elderly subjects. Elderly subjects presented lower TSH levels, whereas there was no statistically significant difference in TRH and free thyroxine serum levels between young-middle-aged and elderly subjects. Aging is associated with an altered TSH secretion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)433-439
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biological Regulators and Homeostatic Agents
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2010


  • Aging
  • Circadian rhythm
  • Hypothalamus-hypophysis-thyroid axis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Endocrinology
  • Physiology
  • Cancer Research


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