ISSN 1470-3947 (print) | ISSN 1479-6848 (online)

Endocrine Abstracts (2008) 16 P440

Acute effects of the intranasal administration of growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) on nocturnal memory consolidation in waking young men

Manfred Hallschmid1, Ines Wilhelm1, Christian Michel1, Jan Born1, Hendrik Lehnert2 & Boris Perras2

1Department of Neuroendocrinology, University of Lübeck, Lübeck, Germany; 2Department of Medicine I, University of Lübeck, Lübeck, Germany.

Introduction: The activity of the somatotropic system displays a secretory maximum during early sleep which is also a period known to be important for memory consolidation. Blocking of the sleep-onset associated GH-surge by somatostatin did not affect memory performance but the contribution of growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) to memory processes is unclear. Here we assessed the influence of intranasal GHRH on memory function in waking subjects during the early part of the night.

Methods: Fifteen young and healthy men (mean age 23.5 years) were investigated while staying awake throughout the night. At 21.30 hours subjects received 600 μg GHRH or placebo (saline solution) by the intranasal route in a double-blind experiment. Declarative and procedural memory was examined with a word pair learning task and finger tapping, respectively. Mood and sleepiness were measured by questionnaire (MDBF, Stanford sleepiness scale). Also hunger and thirst were monitored by a self-rating scale. Blood for determination of growth hormone, cortisol, ACTH, insulin and blood glucose were collected in close intervals.

Results: GHRH in comparison with placebo did not improve memory consolidation as expressed as difference (mean±SEM) of recall performance between learning before substance administration (20.30 hours) and in the morning after having spent the night awake (09.00 hours): word pairs: GHRH 72.3±4.1%; placebo 81.3±6.4%; finger tapping: GHRH: 105.9±4.7%, placebo: 99.2±4.9%.

Conclusion: Memory consolidation during the early part of the night is not facilitated by the sleep associated peak activity of the somatotropic system which typically parallels this period.

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