Five men and 8 women, 60-69 yr of age, and 4 men and 5 women, 17-37 yr of age, volunteered for this exploration of possible age-related changes in circadian-rhythm (CR) characteristics of radio-immunoassayable plasma renin (PRA) and aldosterone (PA). Blood was drawn at 06.00, 08.00, 12.00, 18.00, 20.00 and 24.00 from recumbent subjects on a habitual sodium intake of 120-140 mEq/ 24 h. Time-qualified data of PRA and PA, fitted by a 24-h cosine curve, were summarized by a population mean-cosinor method. Circadian characteristics were compared by a multivariate analysis using Hotelling's t2 test. Rhythmometry reveals in the elderly women a lower mesor (P < 0.001) and amplitude (P = 0.036) of the CR in PRA and a higher mesor and amplitude (P = 0.021 and P = 0.020, respectively) of the PA-CR. The PRA acrophase is delayed (P < 0.001) in the elderly women (04.40 vs. 08.04) while the timing of the PA acrophase is similar in the age groups of women compared (05.52 vs. 05.20). These differences found in women were not observed in the smaller groups of men. The seventh decade of life may be characterized by an internal circadian desynchronization between the major components of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system. A sex-dependent amplification of the extent of circadian variation in aldosterone may precede a decrease in the circadian amplitude occurring during the eighth decade of life, as a sign of the adrenopause in women.
- Adrenal cortex
- Circadian rhythm