Previous studies have indicated the existence of common mechanisms regulating sleep and somatotropic activity. In the present study, we investigated the effects of prolonged treatment with a novel, orally active, growth hormone secretagogue (MK-677) on sleep quality in healthy young and older adults. Eight young subjects (18-30 years) followed a double-blind, placebo-controlled, three-period crossover design. Each subject participated in three 7-day treatment periods (with bedtime drug administration), presented in random (Latin square) order, and separated by at least 14 days. Doses were 5 and 25 mg MK-677 and matching placebo. Six older subjects, ages 65-71 years, each participated in two 14-day treatment periods (with bedtime drug administration) separated by a 14-day washout. Doses were 2 and 25 mg MK-677 during the first and second periods, respectively. Baseline sleep and hormonal data were obtained on the 2 days preceding the beginning of the first 14-day treatment period. In young subjects, high-dose MK-677 treatment resulted in an approximately 50% increase in the duration of stage IV and in a more than 20% increase in REM sleep as compared to placebo (p < 0.05). The frequency of deviations from normal sleep decreased from 42% under placebo to 8% under high-dose MK-677 (p < 0.03). In older adults, treatment with MK-677 was associated with a nearly 50% increase in REM sleep (p < 0.05) and a decrease in REM latency (p < 0.02). The frequency of deviations from normal sleep also decreased (p < 0.02). The present findings suggest that MK-677 may simultaneously improve sleep quality and correct the relative hyposomatotropism of senescence.

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