Effect of growth hormone replacement on BMD in adult-onset growth hormone deficiency

Peter J Snyder, Beverly M K Biller, Anthony Zagar, Ivor Jackson, Baha M Arafah, Todd B Nippoldt, David M Cook, Arshag D Mooradian, Anita Kwan, Jamie Scism-Bacon, John J Chipman, Mark L Hartman
Journal of Bone and Mineral Research 2007, 22 (5): 762-70

UNLABELLED: To determine if replacement of GH improves BMD in adult-onset GHD, we administered GH in physiologic amounts to men and women with GHD. GH replacement significantly increased spine BMD in the men by 3.8%.

INTRODUCTION: Growth hormone (GH) deficiency (GHD) acquired in adulthood results in diminished BMD; the evidence that replacement of GH improves BMD is not conclusive. We therefore performed a randomized, placebo-controlled trial to determine whether GH replacement would increase lumbar spine BMD in a combined group of men and women with adult-onset GHD.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We randomized 67 men and women to receive GH (n=33) or placebo (n=34) for 2 yr. The GH dose was initially 2 microg/kg body weight/d, increased gradually to a maximum of 12 microg/kg/d and adjusted to maintain a normal IGF-I concentration for age and sex. BMD was assessed before treatment and at 6, 12, 18, and 24 mo of treatment. Fifty-four subjects completed the protocol.

RESULTS: BMD of the lumbar spine in the entire group increased by 2.9 +/- 3.9% above baseline in the GH-treated subjects, which was significantly (p=0.037) greater than the 1.4 +/- 4.5% increase in the placebo-treated subjects. In a secondary analysis, spine BMD in GH-treated men increased 3.8 +/- 4.3% above baseline, which was significantly (p=0.001) greater than that in placebo-treated men (0.4 +/- 4.7%), but the change in GH-treated women was not significantly different from that in placebo-treated women. Treatment with GH did not increase total hip BMD more than placebo treatment after 2 yr.

CONCLUSIONS: We conclude that GH replacement in men who have adult-onset GHD improves their spine BMD, but we cannot draw any conclusions about the effect of GH replacement on spine BMD in women with adult-onset GHD.

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