Clinical Autonomic Research

, Volume 2, Issue 2, pp 113–118 | Cite as

The circadian rhythm of atrial natriuretic peptide, vasoactive intestinal peptide, beta-endorphin and cortisol in healthy young and elderly subjects

  • P. Cugini
  • P. Lucia
  • L. Di Palma
  • M. Re
  • R. Canova
  • L. Gasbarrone
  • A. Cianetti
Research Paper


Atrial natriuretic peptide, vasoactive intestinal peptide, beta-endorphin and cortisol are humoral variables characterized by a 24-h periodicity. We evaluated the circadian rhythm of these peptides and hormones in healthy subjects who were young (between 20–25 years) or elderly (between 65–75 years). All were on controlled diets. Blood samples were collected six times during a 24-h period (at 06.00, 08.00, 12.00, 18.00, 20.00 and 24.00 h) beginning 8-h after start of recumbency. The time-related data were analysed by the Cosinor method in order to validate the circadian rhythm and to quantify rhythmometric parameters which included the midline estimate of rhythm (mesor). In contrast to the young subjects, Cosinor analysis failed to reveal a significant circadian rhythm in elderly subjects, for plasma cortisol. In elderly subjects oscillation (mesor) of atrial nutriuretic peptide was higher, while that of vasoactive intestinal peptide and beta—endorphins was lower. The results suggest changes in the physiological secretion of these three peptides in healthy elderly subjects.

Key words

Ageing ANP B-EP Circadian rhythm VIP 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Deschovich G, Kuhl J, Halberg F, Montalbetti N, Rimondi S, Ceredi C. Age and catecholamine rhythm.Chronobiologia 1974;1: 163–171.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Nelson W, Bingham C, Haus E, Lakatua DJ, Kawasaky T, Halberg F. Rhythm-adjusted age-effects in a concomitant study of twelve hormones in plasma of women.J Gerontol 1980;55: 512–519.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Halberg A, Schramm A, Pusch HJ, Franke H, Cugini P, Scavo D More prominent circadian amplitude (than any mesor) decrease characterizes serum prolactin in human aging.Chronobiologia 1980;7: 132.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Cugini P, Scavo D, Halberg F, Sothern RB, Meucci T, Salandi E, Massimiani F. Ageing and circadian rhythm of plasma renin and aldosterone.Maturitas 1981;3: 173–180.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Touitou Y, Fevre M, Lagoguey M, Crayon A, Bogdan A, Reinberg A, Bech H, Cesselin F, Touitou C. Age and mental health-related circadian rhythms of plasma levels of melatonin, prolactin, luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone in man.J Endocrinol 1981;91: 467–475.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Cugini P, Scavo D, Halberg F, Schramm A, Pusch HJ, Franke H. Methodologically critical interactions of circadian rhythm, sex and aging characterize serum aldosterone and the female adrenopause.J Gerontol 1982;37: 403–411.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Cugini P, Scavo D, Halberg F, Schramm A, Pusch HJ, Franke H. Circadian amplitude of prolactin, cortisol and aldosterone in human blood several decades after menopause. In: Fioretti P, Martini L, Melis GB, Yen SSC, eds.The Menopause: Clinical, Endocrinological and Pathophysiological Aspects: Serono Symposium n.39. New York; Academic Press, 1982; 157–162.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Halberg F. Biologic rhythms, hormones and aging. In: Vernadakis A, Timiras PS, eds.Hormone in Development and Ageing. New York: Spectrum Publications, 1982; 451–476.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Cugini P. Chronobiology and senescence. In: Halberg F, Reale L, Tarquini B, eds.Proceedings of the International Symposium on Chronobiological Approach to Social Medicine. Firenze, 1984; 229–268.Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Cugini P, Halberg F, Schramm A, Haus E, Lakatua D, Scheving LE, Scavo D. Human aging and rhythms. In: Haus E, Kabat H, eds.Chronobiology 1982–1983. Basel: Karger, 1984; 319–324.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Cugini P, Murano G, Lucia P, Letizia C, Scavo D. Circadian rhythms of plasma renin activity and aldosterone: changes related to age, sex, recumbency and sodium restriction. Chronobiologic specification for reference values.Chronobiology Int 1985;2: 267–276.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Cugini P, Murano G, Lucia P, Letizia C, Scavo D, Halberg F, Schramm A. The gerontological decline of the renin-aldosterone system: a chronobiological approach extended to essential hypertension.J Gerontol 1987;42: 461–465.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Van Cauter E. Endocrine rhythms. In: Arendt J, Minors DS, Watherhouse JM, eds.Biological Rhythms in Clinical Practice. London: Butterworths, 1989; 23–50.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Richards AM, Tonolo G, Fraser R, Morton JJ, Leckie BJ, Ball SG, Robertson JIS. Diurnal change in plasma atrial natriuretic peptide concentrations.Clin Sci 1987;73: 489–495.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    McCance DR, Roberts G, Sheridan B, McKnight JA, Leslie H, Merret JD, Batkinson AB. Variations in the plasma concentration of atrial natriuretic factor across 24 h.Acta Endocrinol 1989;120: 266–270.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Cugini P, Re M, Leone G, Di Palma L, Canova R, Gasbarrone L, Cianetti A. Vasoactive intestinal peptide is a biorhythmic variable in human blood.Regulatory Peptides 1991;34: 141–148.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Iranmanesh A, Lizarralde G, Johnson ML, Veldhuis JD. Circadian, ultradian, and episodic release of beta-endorphin in men, and its temporal coupling with cortisol.J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1989;68: 1019–1026.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Katz FH, Romph P, Smith JAA. Diurnal variation of plasma aldosterone, cortisol and renin activity in supine man.J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1975;40: 125–134.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Cugini P, Scavo D, Cornelissen G, Lee JY, Meucci T, Halberg F. Circadian rhythms of plasma renin, aldosterone and cortisol in habitual and low dietary intake.Hormone Res 1981;15: 7–21.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Kangawa K, Fukuda A, Matsuo H. Structural identification of beta and gamma ANP.Nature 1985;313: 397–400.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Ruder HJ, Guy RZ, Lipsett MB. A radioimmunoassay for cortisol in plasma and urine.J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1972;35: 211–224.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Fahrenkrug J. Vasoactive intestinal peptide: measurement, distribution and function.Digestion 1979;19: 149–169.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Wardlaw SL, Frantz AG. Measurement of beta-endorphin in human plasma.J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1979;48: 176–180.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Halberg F, Johnson EA, Nelson W, Runge W, Sothern RB. Autorhythmometry. Procedures for physiologic self-measurements and their analysis.Physiology Teacher 1972;1: 1–11.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Halberg F, Tong YL, Johnson EA. Circadian system phase: an aspect of temporal morphology; procedures and illustrative examples. In: Von Mayersback H, ed.The Cellular Aspects of Biorhythms. New York: Springer-Verlag, 1967; 20–48.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Bingham C, Arbogast B, Cornelissen G, Lee JK, Halberg F. Inferential statistical methods for estimating and comparing cosinor parameters.Chronobiologia 1982;9: 397–439.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Barreca T, Franceschini R, Messina V, Bottaro L, Rolandi E. 24 h thyroid-stimulating hormone secretory pattern in elderly men.Gerontology 1985;31: 119–123.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Deslypere JP, Kaufman JM, Vermeulen T, Vogelaers D, Vandalem JM, Vermeulen A. Influence of age on pulsatile luteinizing hormone release and responsiveness of the gonadotrophs to sex hormone feedback in man.J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1987;64: 68–73.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Spratt DI, O'Dea LStL, Schoenfeld D, Butler JP, Rao PN, Crowley WF Jr. Neuroendocrine-gonadal axis in men: frequent sampling of LH, FSH and testosterone.Am J Physiol 1988;254: E658-E666.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Ohashi M, Fujio N, Nawata H, Kato K, Ibayashi H, Kangawa K, Matsuo H. High plasma concentration of human atrial natriuretic peptide in aged men.J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1987;64: 81–85.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Grimaldi R, Zini I, Agnati LF, Fuxe K, Harfstrand A. Intravenous administration of atriopeptin III affects arterial blood pressure differentially in young and old rats.Acta Physiol Scand 1987;129: 525–528.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Haller BGD, Zust H, Shaw S, Gnadinger MP, Uehlinger DE, Weidmann P. Effects of posture and aging on circulating atrial natriuretic peptide levels in man.J Hypertension 1987;5: 551–556.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Richards AM, Tonolo G, Tree M, Robertson J, Montorsi P, Leckie BJ, Polonia J. Atrial natriuretic peptides and renin release.Am J Med 1988;84 (suppl 3A): 112–118.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Cugini P, Lucia P, Di Palma L, Re M, Canova R, Gasbarrone L, Cianetti A. Effect of aging on circadian rhythm of atrial natriuretic peptide, plasma renin activity and plasma aldosterone.J Gerontology (submitted for publication).Google Scholar
  35. 35.
    Weidmann P, Beretta-Piccoli C, Ziegler WH, Keusch G, Gluck Z. Age versus urinary sodium for judging renin, aldosterone and catecholamine levels. Studies in normal subjects and patients with essential hypertension.Kidney Int 1978;14: 619–628.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    Schiebinger RJ, Baker MZ, Linden J. Effect of adrenergic and muscarinic cholinergic agonists on ANP secretion by isolated rat atria. Potential role of autonomic nervous system in modulating ANP secretion.J Clin Invest 1987;80: 1687–1691.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. 37.
    Clark BA, Elahi A, Epstein FH. Influence of gender, age and the menstrual cycle on plasma atrial natriuretic peptide.J Clin Endocrinol Metab 1990;70: 349–352.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  38. 38.
    Mains RE, Eipper BA, Ling N. Common precursor to corticotropins and endorphins.Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1977;74: 3014–3018.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. 39.
    Petraglia F, Facchinetti F, Parrini D, Micieli G, De Luca S, Genazzani AR. Simultaneous circadian variations of plasma ACTH, betalipotropin, beta-endorphin and cortisol.Hormone Res 1983;17: 147–152.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Rapid Communications of Oxford Ltd. 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Cugini
    • 1
  • P. Lucia
    • 1
  • L. Di Palma
    • 1
  • M. Re
    • 1
  • R. Canova
    • 2
    • 3
  • L. Gasbarrone
    • 2
    • 3
  • A. Cianetti
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.II Clinica MedicaPoliclinico Umberto IItaly
  2. 2.Medical SemeioticsUniversity "La Sapienza"Italy
  3. 3.Department of Internal Medicine and Clinical Research LaboratoriesS. Camillo De Lellis HospitalRomeItaly

Personalised recommendations