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Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2002 Apr;56(4):431-7.

Effects of GH replacement on 24-h ambulatory blood pressure and its circadian rhythm in adult GH deficiency.

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Department of Diabetes & Endocrinology, Royal Liverpool University Hospital, Prescot Street, Liverpool L7 8XP, UK.



Increased prevalence of hypertension and cardiovascular mortality have been reported in hypopituitary patients who had been appropriately replaced with conventional pituitary hormones except GH. Growth hormone replacement (GHR) results in improvement of surrogate markers of cardiovascular function. Data on effects of GHR on blood pressure (BP) in adult growth hormone deficiency (AGHD), however, remain contradictory. There are as yet no reports on BP circadian rhythms in untreated or treated AGHD. Therefore, in a 12-month follow-up study, we evaluated the effects of GHR on ambulatory blood pressure (ABP) in AGHD patients.


A prospective, open treatment design study to determine the effects of GHR on ABP and heart rate in AGHD patients. GH was commenced at a daily dose of 0.5 IU, and titrated up by increments of 0.25 IU at 4-weekly intervals to achieve and maintain IGF-I standard deviation score (IGF-I SD) between the median and upper end of the age-related reference range.


Twenty-two, post-pituitary surgery, severe AGHD patients (11 men), defined as peak GH response < 9 mU/l to provocative testing were recruited. The mean age +/- SEM was 48.8 +/- 2.5 years. Twenty-one patients required additional pituitary replacement hormones following pituitary surgery and were on optimal doses at recruitment.


Twenty-four-hour ABP and heart rate (HR), body mass index (BMI), waist hip ratio (WHR) and total body water (TBW) were measured before and after 12 months on GHR. Cosinor analysis was used to analyse BP and HR circadian rhythm parameter estimates.


Target IGF-I SD was achieved within 3 months of commencement of GHR in all patients (-3.5 +/- 0.4 at baseline vs. 0.8 +/- 0.2 at 3 months, P < 0.001) and remained within range at 12 months (1.1 +/- 0.2, P < 0.001 compared to baseline). A significant increase in TBW (45.8 +/- 1.2 vs. 47.8 +/- 1.5 kg, P < 0.05) but no significant change in BMI (30.7 +/- 2.2 vs. 31.8 +/- 2.7, P = NS) or WHR (0.95 +/- 0.02 vs. 0.93 +/- 0.02, P = NS) was observed after 12 months on GHR. The 24-h mean systolic ABP (SBP; 126.2 +/- 2.8 vs. 120.1 +/- 2.7 mmHg, P < 0.001) and diastolic ABP (DBP; 78.2 +/- 1.6 vs. 71.4 +/- 1.8 mmHg, P < 0.001) significantly decreased following GHR with a parallel increase in 24-h mean HR (69.6 +/- 2.5 vs. 73.8 +/- 2.5 beats/min; P < 0.001). A significant nocturnal decrease in SBP and DBP was observed both before (SBP; daytime, 129.1 +/- 2.8 vs. night time, 115.9 +/- 3.0 mmHg, P < 0.001 and DBP; daytime, 80.7 +/- 1.6 vs. night time, 69.2 +/- 1.8 mmHg, P < 0.001) and following GHR (SBP; daytime, 122.8 +/- 2.6 vs. night time, 110.0 +/- 3.6 mmHg, P < 0.001 and DBP; daytime, 73.9 +/- 1.8 vs. night time, 62.0 +/- 2.3 mmHg, P < 0.001). Individual and population-mean cosinor analysis demonstrated significant circadian rhythms for SBP, DBP and HR before and after 12 months on GHR (P < 0.001), suggesting that SBP, DBP and HR circadian rhythms were not altered by GHR. There was, however, a significant reduction in SBP (124.2 +/- 2.8 vs. 118.4 +/- 2.8 mmHg, P < 0.001) and DBP (77.0 +/- 1.6 vs. 70.2 +/- 1.8 mmHg, P < 0.001) MESOR with an increase in HR MESOR (68.9 +/- 2.5 vs. 72.2 +/- 2.4 beats/min, P < 0.01) following GHR.


Systolic and diastolic BP and HR circadian rhythms are preserved in AGHD following 12 months of GHR. However, there is a significant decrease in 24-h mean SBP and DBP and increase in 24-h mean HR after 12 months on GHR. We postulate that this decrease in 24-h mean SBP and DBP may result in a reduction of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality and may explain the beneficial effects of GHR on cardiovascular system previously reported in AGHD patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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