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Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2012 Nov 15;303(10):E1264-72. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00320.2012. Epub 2012 Sep 25.

Suppression in growth hormone during overeating ameliorates the increase in insulin resistance and cardiovascular disease risk.

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  • 1School of Kinesiology, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2214, USA.


Previously, we reported that overeating for only a few days markedly suppressed the secretion of growth hormone (GH). The purpose of the present study was to determine the role of this reduction in GH concentration on key metabolic adaptations that occur during 2 wk of overeating. Nine nonobese, healthy adults were admitted to the hospital for 2 wk, during which time they ate ∼4,000 kcal/day (70 kcal·kg fat-free mass(-1)·day(-1); 50% carbohydrate, 35% fat, and 15% protein), and their plasma GH concentration was allowed to decline naturally (control). An additional eight subjects underwent the same overeating intervention and received exogenous GH treatment (GHT) administered in four daily injections to mimic physiological GH secretion throughout the 2-wk overeating period. We measured plasma insulin and glucose concentrations in the fasting and postprandial state as well as fasting lipolytic rate, proteolytic rate, and fractional synthetic rate (FSR) using stable-isotope tracer methods. GHT prevented the fall in plasma GH concentration, maintaining plasma GH concentration at baseline levels (1.2 ± 0.2 ng/ml), which increased fasting and postprandial assessments of insulin resistance (P < 0.05) and increased fasting lipidemia (all P < 0.05 vs. control). In addition, preventing the suppression in GH with overeating also blunted the increase in systemic proteolysis (P < 0.05 GHT vs. control). However, GHT did not alter lipolysis or FSR in response to overeating. In conclusion, our main findings suggest that the suppression in GH secretion that naturally occurs during the early stages of overeating may help attenuate the insulin resistance and hyperlipidemia that typically accompany overeating.

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