Effects of four years’ treatment with biosynthetic human growth hormone (GH) on glucose homeostasis, insulin secretion and lipid metabolism in GH-deficient adults.

Original article


al-Shoumer KA, Gray R, Anyaoku V, Hughes C, Beshyah S, Richmond W, Johnston DG.

Unit of Endocrinology and Metabolic Medicine, Imperial College School of Medicine, St Mary’s Hospital, London, UK.

Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 1998 Jun;48(6):795-802.


OBJECTIVE: To study the effects of long-term growth hormone (GH) treatment on lipid metabolism and carbohydrate tolerance in GH-deficient adults. DESIGN: Open trial of GH treatment for 4 years. GH dose was (median, range) 0.025 (0.010-0.050) IU/kg daily. PATIENTS: Thirteen GH-deficient hypopituitary adults (seven men, six women), aged (median, range) 47 (24-65) years were followed for 4 years. MEASUREMENTS: Fasting lipids, lipoproteins, apolipoproteins, glucose and insulin concentrations were measured at yearly intervals during GH therapy. A 75-g oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) was also performed yearly, during which circulating glucose and insulin were measured at 30-minute intervals for 3 h. RESULTS: Fasting total and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol concentrations decreased on GH therapy, but no change was observed in fasting triglyceride or high density lipoprotein (HDL) concentrations. Compared to pretreatment values, total and LDL cholesterol levels were significantly lower at 1 year (mean +/- SEM) (6.39 +/- 0.46 vs. 5.71 +/- 0.38 mmol/l, P < 0.05; 4.46 +/- 0.36 vs. 3.24 +/- 0.20 mmol/l, P < 0.01, respectively) and the reductions were maintained for the 4 years. Apolipoproteins A-1 and B did not differ significantly from the pretreatment levels. Fasting plasma glucose increased significantly at the first year (4.9 +/- 0.1 vs. 5.3 +/- 0.1 mmol/l, P < 0.05) but it returned to the pretreatment value in the following years. Fasting plasma insulin increased significantly at 1 year (4.3 (1.0-13.6) vs. 11.9 (1.2-26.9) mU/l, P < 0.05) and showed a progressive downward trend but remained significantly raised throughout the subsequent years. The 3-h area under the glucose curve (AUC) during the OGTT tended to be increased at the first year (P = 0.07) and it returned to the pretreatment level in the following years. The AUC of plasma insulin was significantly raised at 1 year (P = 0.024) and it returned to the pretreatment level in the following years. CONCLUSIONS: Four years of GH therapy in GH-deficient adults resulted in a sustained improvement in total and LDL cholesterol concentrations. Mild fasting hyperinsulinaemia persisted, although an initial deterioration in glucose tolerance, associated with post-glucose hyperinsulinaemia, was not sustained. Keywords: Link/DOI: http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/doi/abs/10.1046/j.1365-2265.1998.00460.x