Thyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) aroused our interest when we were engaged in related experiments, so we decided to study its effects on organs, tissues, and aging-related metabolic and hormonal markers when administered in acute or chronic (oral) doses at various time points in its cyclic circadian pattern. We also wanted to determine what effects, if any, it had on aging processes in two essential systems, namely gonadal-reproductive and kidney-urinary. Our results show positive changes as a result of short-term acute and long-term chronic oral administration of TRH to old mice that included rapid correction to more juvenile levels of most typical aging-related hormonal and metabolic measurements.
Remarkably, testes function was maintained by means of a 4-month oral treatment with TRH in aging mice. As we suspected upon seeing a significant increase in testes weight, TRH resulted in maintenance or even reconstitution of testes structure and function when administered in the drinking water. This was demonstrated by the active formation and proliferation of mature spermatogonia and the intensive spermatogenesis in the follicles. The same TRH treatment led to protection for the kidneys from amyloid and hyalin infiltration of tubuli and glomeruli, which typically occurs in aging mice. In fact, we observed massive deposits of amyloid and hyalin material infiltrating the shrunken glomeruli and negatively affecting filtration capacity of the untreated mice, whereas this was barely present in the TRH-treated mice. Advanced hyalin degeneration could also be observed in the tubular vessels of the untreated control mice.
These experiments with TRH supplementation show clear aging-delaying and apparently even aging-reversing effects of the neuropeptide, whether it was administered parenterally or orally. TRH, like melatonin, is an anti-aging agent with a broad spectrum of activities that, because of their actions, suggest that TRH has a fundamental role in the regulation of metabolic and hormonal functions.