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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2002 Aug;87(8):3537-42.

Acromegaly with apparently normal GH secretion: implications for diagnosis and follow-up.

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Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109, USA.


The biochemical diagnosis of acromegaly is conventionally based on elevated plasma GH levels that fail to suppress after an oral glucose load. We studied 16 newly diagnosed patients with acromegaly with normal mean plasma GH but elevated age and gender-adjusted plasma IGF-I concentrations (476 +/- 29 microg/liter, mean +/- SE). Plasma GH was sampled every 10 min for 24 h, and an oral glucose tolerance test was performed. The control group included 46 healthy subjects. All patients had 24-h mean GH values that overlapped with those of the healthy controls. Mean plasma GH was less than 2.5 microg/liter in 12 patients. Patients had higher 24-h nadir GH values than healthy controls (P < 0.001). During the oral glucose tolerance test, nadir plasma GH was less than 1 micro g/liter in eight patients. Plasma IGF-I normalized in 11 of 14 patients after transsphenoidal surgery. Four patients with normal IGF-I after transsphenoidal surgery were restudied. Mean and nadir GH decreased in all of them. In our experience in many patients with acromegaly, the diagnosis could be missed if only the existing GH-based criteria are used. Revised GH criteria in combination with plasma IGF-I should be used for the diagnosis and follow-up of acromegaly.

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