GH deficiency has been found in subjects with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Disrupted endocrine function could contribute to the progressive muscle loss and hypermetabolism seen in ALS. It is not possible to study all the elements of the GH-IGF-I axis in ALS patients. Consequently, it remains unclear whether dysfunctional GH secretion contributes to disease pathogenesis and why GHand IGF-I directed treatment strategies are ineffective in human ALS. ThehSOD1 G93A transgenic mouse model is useful for the detailed investigation of the pathogenesis of ALS. We report that symptomatic male hSOD1 G93A transgenic mice exhibit a deficiency in GH secretion similar to that seen in human ALS. Further characterization of the GH-IGF-I axis in hSOD1 G93A mice reveals central and peripheral abnormalities that are not found in wild-type age-matched controls. Specifically, we observe aberrant endogenous pulsatile GH secretion, reduced pituitary GH content, and decreased circulating levels of IGF-I, indicating global GH deficiency in hSOD1 G93A mice. Furthermore, a reduction in the expression of the IGF-I receptor α-subunit in skeletal muscle and lumbar spinal cords of hSOD1G93A mice suggests impaired IGF-I signaling within these tissues. This is the first account of disrupted GH secretion in a transgenic mouse model of ALS. These observations are essential for the development of effective GH and IGF-I targeted therapies in ALS.
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