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Metabolism. 2005 Sep;54(9):1174-80.

Cardiac and metabolic effects of chronic growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor I excess in young adults with pituitary gigantism.

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Section of Endocrinology, Department of Biomedical Sciences and Advanced Therapies, University of Ferrara, 44100 Ferrara, Italy.


Chronic growth hormone (GH)/insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) excess is associated with considerable mortality in acromegaly, but no data are available in pituitary gigantism. The aim of the study was to evaluate the long-term effects of early exposure to GH and IGF-I excess on cardiovascular and metabolic parameters in adult patients with pituitary gigantism. Six adult male patients with newly diagnosed gigantism due to GH secreting pituitary adenoma were studied and compared with 6 age- and sex-matched patients with acromegaly and 10 healthy subjects. Morphologic and functional cardiac parameters were evaluated by Doppler echocardiography. Glucose metabolism was assessed by evaluating glucose tolerance and homeostasis model assessment index. Disease duration was significantly longer (P<.05) in patients with gigantism than in patients with acromegaly, whereas GH and IGF-I concentrations were comparable. Left ventricular mass was increased both in patients with gigantism and in patients with acromegaly, as compared with controls. Left ventricular hypertrophy was detected in 2 of 6 of both patients with gigantism and patients with acromegaly, and isolated intraventricular septum thickening in 1 patient with gigantism. Inadequate diastolic filling (ratio between early and late transmitral flow velocity<1) was detected in 2 of 6 patients with gigantism and 1 of 6 patients with acromegaly. Impaired glucose metabolism occurrence was higher in patients with acromegaly (66%) compared with patients with gigantism (16%). Concentrations of IGF-I were significantly (P<.05) higher in patients with gigantism who have cardiac abnormalities than in those without cardiac abnormalities. In conclusion, our data suggest that GH/IGF-I excess in young adult patients is associated with morphologic and functional cardiac abnormalities that are similar in patients with gigantism and in patients with acromegaly, whereas occurrence of impaired glucose metabolism appears to be higher in patients with acromegaly, although patients with gigantism are exposed to GH excess for a longer period.

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