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J Hepatol. 1997 Nov;27(5):796-802.

Growth hormone-stimulated insulin-like growth factor (IGF) I and IGF-binding protein-3 in liver cirrhosis.

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  • 1Department of Medicine B, The Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa.



The aim of this study was to evaluate the liver's potential to generate insulin-like growth factor (IGF) I and IGF-binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3), following stimulation by human recombinant growth hormone, as a possible marker for liver functional reserve in patients with liver cirrhosis.


In a pilot study, 15 patients (mean age 56 years) with postnecrotic liver cirrhosis were divided into two groups according to disease severity (Child-Pugh score): Group 1 (n=8) with scores of 5-8 and Group 2 (n=7) with scores of 9-12. Five age-matched healthy subjects served as controls. Human recombinant growth hormone (0.06 mg/kg) was administered subcutaneously on 2 consecutive days. Serum levels of IGF-I and IGFBP-3 were measured before and up to 48 h after human recombinant growth hormone injection. Nutritional status was assessed by the creatinine-height index and was compared to lymphocyte count, body mass index, and muscle arm circumference.


Baseline IGF-I levels were significantly lower in patients with cirrhosis than in controls, while no differences were noted between the two patient groups. IGF-I levels increased significantly after rhGH administration to the healthy controls, to a lower degree in Group 1, while no change occurred in Group 2. IGF-I levels at 24 h and beyond correlated significantly with the nutritional status, the Child-Pugh score, and the basal levels of GH-binding protein and IGFBP-3. IGFBP-3 serum levels did not change after rhGH stimulation.


IGF-I generation after GH stimulation may provide a new dimension in the assessment of liver function and nutritional status in patients with liver cirrhosis.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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