The metabolic effects of short-term administration of physiological versus high doses of GH therapy in GH deficient adults

K. Yuen, D. Cook, K. Ong, P. Chatelain, L. Fryklund, P. Gluckman, M. B. Ranke, R. Rosenfeld, D. Dunger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: GH treatment has demonstrated favourable effects on most features of GH deficiency in hypopituitary adults. However, most studies employed supraphysiological GH doses, resulting in deterioration in insulin sensitivity (SI). The short-term metabolic effects of physiological doses of GH therapy in GH deficient (GHD) adults are largely unknown. We therefore compared the effects of short-term administration of two 'physiological' ('lowest' dose: 0.0017 mg/kg/day; 'low' dose: 0.0033 mg/kg/day) with two 'supraphysiological' ('high' dose: 0.010 mg/kg/day; 'highest' dose: 0.025 mg/kg/day) GH doses on SI, β-cell function, IGF-1 and IGFBPs -1 and -3 in a group of GHD adults. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Thirteen GHD adults were recruited (seven men, aged 23-63 years). For each of the four doses, six patients (three men) were allocated randomly to undergo a 7-day treatment phase. Fasting blood samples were collected daily (days 1-8), and SI and β-cell function were calculated using the homeostasis model assessment (HOMA). RESULTS: All four GH doses increased IGF-1, IGFBP-3 and IGF-1/IGFBP-3 ratio, and decreased IGFBP-1 from day 3 onwards (P < 0.05). The highest dose increased fasting glucose (P < 0.001), insulin (P < 0.001) and β-cell function (P(P < 0.001). < 0.001), but decreased SI The high and low doses did not modify fasting glucose or β-cell function, whereas the lowest and insulin, SI β dose enhanced ?-cell function (P < 0.05). The overall increase in the GH dose increased IGF-1, IGFBP-3, fasting glucose and insulin (P < 0.001), demonstrated a positive correlation with the final change in fasting glucose (r = 0.5,P < 0.05) and insulin (r = 0.8,P < 0.001) and a (r = 0.5,P < 0.05). negative correlation with final SI (r=-0.5, P < 0.05. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that short-term administration of the highest GH dose induced insulin resistance, whereas the lowest dose (0.0017 mg/kg/day) could represent the optimal starting dose in GHD adults due to its beneficial effects on β-cell function without compromising SI. It is, however, yet to be determined whether the positive effects of the lowest GH dose on β-cell function can be demonstrated over a longer period of time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-341
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Endocrinology
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology


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