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Ann Endocrinol (Paris). 2002 Apr;63(2 Pt 1):140-4.

Neuroendocrine and metabolic determinants of the adaptation of GH/IGF-I axis to obesity.

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Division of Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Turin, Italy.


Obese patients show marked impairment in spontaneous secretion as well as in the somatotroph responsiveness to all provocative stimuli. GH insufficiency in obese patients has been reported reversible after long-term diet and marked weight loss but somatotroph secretion is not restored by fasting. Among potential neuroendocrine causes, GHRH hypoactivity has been shown but it is likely that alterations in the influence of ghrelin, the gastric-derived natural ligand of the GHS-R, and or of the NPY/leptin interplay could have a role. Among metabolic alterations, the chronic elevation of FFA levels and hyperinsulinism probably have a key role in causing GH insufficiency in obesity. Despite marked GH insufficiency, total IGF-I levels are basically preserved while free IGF-I levels are even increased thus questioning real hypoactivity of GH/IGF-I axis in obesity. Peripheral GH hypersensitivity due to increased GH receptor status, hyperinsulinism and reduced IGFBP-I levels likely explain almost normal total IGF-I and increased free IGF-I levels which, in turn, probably exert an increased negative feedback action on somatotroph cells.

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