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Eur J Endocrinol. 2013 Apr 15;168(5):745-53. doi: 10.1530/EJE-12-1083. Print 2013 May.

Fifteen years of GH replacement improves body composition and cardiovascular risk factors.

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  • 1Department of Endocrinology, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden.



Few studies have determined the effects of more than 5-10 years of GH replacement in adults on body composition and cardiovascular risk factors.


In this prospective, single-center, open-label study, the effects of 15 years of GH replacement on body composition and cardiovascular risk factors were determined in 156 hypopituitary adults (93 men) with adult-onset GH deficiency (GHD). Mean age was 50.5 (range 22-74) years at study start. Body composition was measured using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry.


The mean initial GH dose of 0.55 (S.E.M. 0.03) mg/day was gradually lowered to 0.40 (0.01) mg/day after 15 years. The mean serum IGF1 SDS increased from -1.53 (0.10) at baseline to 0.74 (0.13) at study end (P<0.001 vs baseline). Lean soft tissue (LST) increased to 3% above the baseline level at study end (P<0.001). After a 9% decrease during the first year of treatment (P<0.001 vs baseline), body fat (BF) started to increase and had returned to the baseline level after 15 years. Serum levels of total cholesterol and LDL-cholesterol decreased and serum HDL-cholesterol level increased. Fasting plasma glucose increased from 4.4 (0.1) at baseline to 4.8 (0.1) mmol/l at study end (P<0.001). However, blood HbA1c decreased from 5.0 (0.1) to 4.6 (0.1) % (P<0.001).


Fifteen-year GH replacement in GHD adults induced a transient decrease in BF and sustained improvements of LST and serum lipid profile. Fasting plasma glucose increased whereas blood HbA1c was reduced.

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