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Keywords:

  • Growth hormone deficiency;
  • adolescents;
  • body composition;
  • bone mineral density;
  • lean tissue muss;
  • fat mass

Growth hormone deficiency (GHD) in adults and children is associated with decreased lean tissue mass (LTM), increased fat mass and reduced bone mineral density (BMD). The changes in BMD and body composition, 6 and 12 months after ceasing GH treatment, were assessed using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry in eight patients with GHD (age range, 13.8–17.5 years). Seven age-matched normal subjects who had completed growth were assessed at 0 and 12 months. Total body BMD was low at baseline (p < 0.05) in patients with GHD compared with the predicted values based on sex-specific regression equations, with height, weight and age taken into account. Total body, lumbar spine and femoral neck BMD increased in the patients and controls at 12 months. LTM decreased significantly by a mean of 1.37 kg in the patients with GHD at 12 months whereas there was a non-significant increase in LTM in the control group. The percentage of body fat increased in all patients with GHD at 6 and 12 months, from 27.2 ± 11% (mean ± SD) at baseline to 32 ± 9.9% at 12 months (p= 0.009). There was no significant increase in mean percentage body fat in the control group. The ratio of android (trunk):gynoid (legs) fat was calculated using default settings of dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. The mean android:gynoid fat ratio increased, though non-significantly, in patients with GHD at 12 months, with 6 of 7 showing an increase; no change was observed in the control group. These results indicate that BMD continues to increase 12 months after ceasing GH therapy in adolescents with GHD, but that unfavourable alterations in body composition occur.