Monitoring serum insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), IGF binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3), IGF-I/IGFBP-3 molar ratio and leptin during growth hormone treatment for disordered growth

V Tillmann, L Patel, M S Gill, A J Whatmore, D A Price, M S Kibirige, J K Wales, P E Clayton
Clinical Endocrinology 2000, 53 (3): 329-36

OBJECTIVE: Serum IGF-I levels are monitored during GH replacement treatment in adults with GH deficiency (GHD) to guide GH dose adjustment and to minimize occurrence of GH-related side-effects. This is not routine practice in children treated with GH. The aim of this study was to evaluate changes in (1) serum IGF-I, IGFBP-3 and IGF-I/IGFBP-3 molar ratio, and (2) serum leptin, an indirect marker of GH response, during the first year of GH treatment in children with disordered growth.

DESIGN: An observational prospective longitudinal study with serial measurements at five time points during the first year of GH treatment was carried out. Each patient served as his/her own control.

PATIENTS: The study included 31 patients, grouped as (1) GHD (n = 20) and (2) non-GHD (Turner syndrome n = 7; Noonan syndrome n = 4), who had not previously received GH treatment.

MEASUREMENTS: Serum IGF-I, IGFBP-3 and leptin levels were measured before treatment and after 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months and 12 months of GH treatment, with a mean dose of 0.5 IU/kg/wk in GHD and 0.7 IU/kg/wk in non-GHD groups. IGF-I, IGFBP-3 and the calculated IGF-I/IGFBP-3 molar ratio were expressed as SD scores using reference values from the local population.

RESULTS: In the GHD group, IGF-I SDS before treatment was lower compared with the non-GHD (-5.4+/-2.5 vs. -1.8+/-1.0; P<0.001). IGF-I (-1.8 SDS +/- 2.2) and IGFBP-3 (-1.1 SDS +/- 0.6) levels and their molar ratios were highest at 6 weeks and remained relatively constant thereafter. In the non-GHD group, IGF-I levels increased throughout the year and were maximum at 12 months (0.3 SDS +/- 1.4) while IGFBP-3 (1.1 SDS +/- 0.9) and IGF-I/IGFBP-3 molar ratio peaked at 6 months. In both groups, IGF-I SDS and IGF-I/IGFBP-3 during treatment correlated with the dose of GH expressed as IU/m2/week (r-values 0. 77 to 0.89; P = 0.005) but not as IU/kg/week. Serum leptin levels decreased significantly during GH treatment in the GHD (median before treatment 4.0 microg/l; median after 12 months treatment 2.4 microg/l; P = 0.02) but not the non-GHD (median before treatment 3.0 microg/l; median after 12 months treatment 2.6 microg/l). In the GHD group, serum leptin before treatment correlated with 12 month change in height SDS (r = 0.70, P = 0.02).

CONCLUSIONS: The pattern of IGF-I, IGFBP-3 and their molar ratio during the first year of GH treatment differed between the GHD and non-GHD groups. Calculation of GH dose by surface area may be preferable to calculating by body weight. As a GH dose-dependent increase in serum IGF-I and IGF-I/IGFBP-3 may be associated with adverse effects, serum IGF-I and IGFBP-3 should be monitored routinely during long-term GH treatment. Serum leptin was the only variable that correlated with first year growth response in GHD.

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