Sleep and insulin-like growth factors in the cardiovascular health study

Neomi Shah, Tom Rice, Daniel Tracy, Thomas Rohan, Petra Bůžková, Anne Newman, Robert C. Kaplan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Study Objectives: Sleep and sleep disordered breathing (obstructive sleep apnea [OSA]) are known to affect the growth hormone/insulin-like growth factor (GH/IGF) axis. There are few relevant population studies in this area, particularly in the elderly. We conducted this study to investigate the relationship between sleep (architecture and OSA) and circulating IGF-I (insulin-like growth factor-1), IGFBP-1 (insulin-like growth factor binding protein-1), and IGFBP-3 (insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3) levels in an elderly population. Design Setting: Cross-sectional analysis of participants from the year 9 visit of the Cardiovascular Health Study (CHS) who were enrolled in the Sleep Heart Health Study (SHHS). Patients or Participants: 1,233 elderly participants from the CHS and SHHS. Measurements and Results: The mean age of males (n = 526) and females (n = 697) was 77 years. The mean value of IGF-I (ng/mL) in males was 112.4 vs. 97.1 in females (p < 0.01). Mean IGFBP-1 and IGFBP-3 levels were higher in females than males (p < 0.01). As expected, slow wave sleep was better preserved in females compared to males (22% total sleep time vs. 9% total sleep time, p < 0.01). Furthermore, as expected, OSA (apnea-hypopnea index [AHI] ≥ 5/h) was more prevalent in males compared to females (60% vs. 46%, p < 0.01). Multivariable linear regression was used to determine the relationship between objective sleep parameters and circulating IGF-I, IGFBP-1, and IGFBP-3 levels, with adjustment for age, sex, race, BMI, diabetes, estrogen use, progestin use, and physical activity. We did not detect a significant association between slow wave sleep (SWS) (per 5 min) and IGF-I, IGFBP-1, and IGFBP-3 levels (ng/mL). We found no significant linear association between OSA (AHI ≥ 5/h) and IGF-I, IGFBP-1, and IGFBP-3 levels. Gender-stratification of the entire cohort did not alter these findings. Sensitivity analyses excluding diabetics revealed that moderate OSA (AHI ≥ 5 and < 15) is inversely associated with IGFBP-3 levels in women. Conclusions: The relationship between SWS and GH/IGF system is not significant in the elderly. Furthermore, OSA does not appear to adversely influence the GH/IGF axis, as reported in younger individuals. Whether our study findings are due to diminished GH/IGF-I axis activity in elderly needs further investigation by replication in other large population based elderly cohorts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1245-1251
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Sleep Medicine
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2013


  • Elderly
  • GH/IGF axis
  • IGF
  • IGFBP-3
  • Insulin-like growth factors
  • Sleep
  • Sleep apnea
  • Slow wave sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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