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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2005 Jun;90(6):3371-80. Epub 2005 Mar 1.

Growth hormone replacement is important for the restoration of parathyroid hormone sensitivity and improvement in bone metabolism in older adult growth hormone-deficient patients.

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Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Link 7C, Royal Liverpool University Hospital, Prescot Street, Liverpool L7 8XP, United Kingdom.


Alterations in PTH circadian rhythm and PTH target-organ sensitivity exist in adult GH-deficient (AGHD) patients and may underlie the pathogenesis of AGHD-related osteoporosis. GH replacement (GHR) results in increased bone mineral density, but its benefit in AGHD patients over 60 yr old has been debated. To examine the effect of age on changes in PTH circadian rhythm and target-organ sensitivity after GHR, we recruited 22 AGHD patients (12 were <60 yr of age, and 10 were >60 yr of age). Half-hourly blood samples were collected for PTH, calcium, phosphate, nephrogenous cAMP (marker of renal PTH activity), type-I collagenbeta C-telopeptide (bone resorption marker), and procollagen type-I amino-terminal propeptide (bone formation marker) before and after 1, 3, 6, and 12 months of treatment with GHR. Significant PTH circadian rhythms were present in both age groups throughout the study. After GHR, PTH decreased and nephrogenous cAMP, adjusted calcium, and bone turnover markers increased in both groups, suggesting increased PTH target-organ sensitivity. In younger patients, the changes were significant after 1 month of GHR, but, in older patients, the changes were delayed until 3 months, with maximal changes at 12 months. Older AGHD patients derive benefit from GHR in terms of improvement in PTH sensitivity and bone metabolism. Their response appears delayed and may explain why previous studies have not shown a positive effect of GHR on bone mineral density in older AGHD patients.

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