Changes in pituitary function with ageing and implications for patient care

Johannes D. Veldhuis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


The pituitary gland has a role in puberty, reproduction, stress-adaptive responses, sodium and water balance, uterine contractions, lactation, thyroid function, growth, body composition and skin pigmentation. Ageing is marked by initially subtle erosion of physiological signalling mechanisms, resulting in lower incremental secretory-burst amplitude, more disorderly patterns of pituitary hormone release and blunted 24 h rhythmic secretion. Almost all pituitary hormones are altered by ageing in humans, often in a manner dependent on sex, body composition, stress, comorbidity, intercurrent illness, medication use, physical frailty, caloric intake, immune status, level of exercise, and neurocognitive decline. The aim of this article is to critically discuss the mechanisms mediating clinical facets of changes in the hypothalamic-pituitary axis during ageing, and the extent to which confounding factors operate to obscure ageing-related effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-215
Number of pages11
JournalNature Reviews Endocrinology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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