Improvement of cardiac and systemic function in old mice by agonist of growth hormone-releasing hormone

Pingping Xiang, Wangwei Jing, Yinuo Lin, Qi Liu, Jian Shen, Xinyang Hu, Jinghai Chen, Renzhi Cai, Joshua M. Hare, Wei Zhu, Andrew V. Schally, Hong Yu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Age-related diseases such as cardiovascular diseases portend disability, increase health expenditures, and cause late-life mortality. Synthetic agonists of growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) exhibit several favorable effects on heart function and remodeling. Here we assessed whether GHRH agonist MR409 can modulate heart function and systemic parameters in old mice. Starting at the age of 15 months, mice were injected subcutaneously with MR409 (10 µg/day, n = 8) or vehicle (n = 7) daily for 6 months. Mice treated with MR409 showed improvements in exercise activity, cardiac function, survival rate, immune function, and hair growth in comparison with the controls. More stem cell colonies were grown out of the bone marrow recovered from the MR409-treated mice. Mitochondrial functions of cardiomyocytes (CMs) from the MR409-treated mice were also significantly improved with more mitochondrial fusion. Fewer β-gal positive cells were observed in endothelial cells after 10 passages with MR409. In Doxorubicin-treated H9C2 cardiomyocytes, cell senescence marker p21 and reactive oxygen species were significantly reduced after cultured with MR409. MR409 also improved cellular ATP production and oxygen consumption rate in Doxorubicin-treated H9C2 cells. Mitochondrial protein OPA1 long isoform was significantly increased after treatment with MR409. The effects of MR409 were mediated by GHRH receptor and protein kinase A (PKA). In short, GHRH agonist MR409 reversed the aging-associated changes with respect of heart function, mobility, hair growth, cellular energy production, and senescence biomarkers. The improvement of heart function may be related to a better mitochondrial functions through GHRH receptor/cAMP/PKA/OPA1 signaling pathway and relieved cardiac inflammation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8197-8207
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Cellular Physiology
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • GHRH agonist
  • OPA1
  • PKA
  • cardiac function
  • exercise activity
  • senescence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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