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Carotid artery intima-media thickness and lipid profile in adults with growth hormone deficiency after long-term growth hormone replacement.

To investigate the effects of growth hormone (GH) replacement on carotid artery intima-media thickness (IMT) and lipid profile, 29 adults with GH deficiency (GHD), mean age 42.5 +/- 10.1 years, were studied and compared with 29 control subjects matched for sex, age, body mass index, and smoking habits. Lipid profile (total cholesterol, triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, apolipoproteins A and B, and lipoprotein), serum insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) levels, and ultrasonography of the carotid arteries were performed at baseline and at 6, 12, and 24 months during GH therapy on maintenance dose. At baseline, when compared with the control group, patients presented increased carotid artery IMT (P < .05) and triglyceride levels (P < .001) and lower HDL concentrations (P < .01). In a linear regression analysis, age and known mean duration of GHD were correlated with carotid artery IMT. After 24 months of GH replacement, a reduction in the mean of carotid artery IMT was observed (P < .01). The apolipoprotein B levels decreased significantly after the first 3 months of GH treatment (P < .001) and remained stable thereafter. Women also presented an increase in HDL cholesterol levels (P < .01). No differences were observed in the other lipids measured. Carotid artery IMT at baseline was inversely correlated with the change in carotid artery IMT (Delta = 24 months - baseline), r = 0.63, P < .001. In conclusion, 24 months of GH replacement therapy promoted favorable effects on carotid artery IMT and lipid profile in patients with GHD. Long-term follow-up studies are required to show whether these beneficial effects will result in reduction of morbidity and mortality from vascular disease.

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