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The individual responsiveness to growth hormone (GH) treatment in GH-deficient adults is dependent on the level of GH-binding protein, body mass index, age, and gender.

Journal article
Authors Gudmundur Johannsson
R Bjarnason
M Bramnert
L M Carlsson
M Degerblad
P Manhem
T Rośen
M Thorén
B A Bengtsson
Published in The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism
Volume 81
Issue 4
Pages 1575-81
ISSN 0021-972X
Publication year 1996
Published at
Pages 1575-81
Language en
Keywords Absorptiometry, Photon, Adipose Tissue, anatomy & histology, Adult, Age Factors, Age of Onset, Body Mass Index, Body Water, Carrier Proteins, blood, Child, Double-Blind Method, Female, Follow-Up Studies, Growth Hormone, blood, deficiency, therapeutic use, Humans, Insulin-Like Growth Factor I, analysis, Male, Pituitary Diseases, blood, drug therapy, Pituitary Neoplasms, blood, drug therapy, Placebos, Recombinant Proteins, therapeutic use, Regression Analysis, Sex Characteristics
Subject categories Medical Laboratory Science, Endocrinology


The aim of the present trial was to study the individual responsiveness to GH treatment in terms of body composition and to search for possible predictors of the response in GH-deficient adults. Sixty-eight patients (44 men and 24 women) with a mean age of 44.3 (1.2) yr and verified GH deficiency participated in a 2-phase treatment trial with an initial randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled, 6-month period, followed by an open treatment period, thereby ensuring all patients 12 months of GH treatment. Recombinant human GH was administered sc daily at bedtime, with a target dose of 12 micrograms/kg x day. GHBP was measured by ligand-mediated immunofunctional assay, and serum insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) was determined by RIA after acid-ethanol extraction, using a truncated IGF-I analog as the radioligand. Lean body mass (LBM) and body fat (BF) were determined by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry, and total body water (TBW) was determined by bioelectrical impedance. During the placebo control period, serum IGF-I,LBM, and TBW increased (P < 0.001), whereas BF decreased (P < 0.001) and serum GHBP was unchanged in the group treated with GH compared with the patients treated with placebo. After 12 months of GH treatment, the individual changes in BF ranged from -12.5 to 4.3 kg and from -4.5 to 10.1 kg in LBM. Age (P < 0.05) and baseline GHBP level (P < 0.01) were inversely correlated with the increase in LBM. The GH-induced increment in IGF-I and TBW was greater in men than in women (P < 0.01), whereas the decreases in BF were similar in men and women. This trial demonstrates the variability in responsiveness to GH administration in GH-deficient adults. The best response to GH was obtained in younger patients with low GHBP levels. Furthermore, men responded better than women.

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