Context: The metabolic syndrome is characterized by an increased accumulation of visceral adipose tissue (VAT) and blunted GH secretion. There are, however, no data on the association between GH secretion and other fat depots (in liver and muscle).
Objective/design: The aim of this cross-sectional study, which included 20 post-menopausal women with abdominal obesity, was to determine the association between GH secretion and regional adipose tissue (AT) distribution. Twelve-hour GH profiles (2000–0800 h) were performed by blood sampling every 20 min. GH was analyzed using an ultra-sensitive assay followed by approximate entropy (ApEn) and deconvolution analysis.
Results: In simple regression analyses, both basal and pulsatile GH secretions correlated negatively with VAT and thigh intermuscular adipose tissue (IMAT), but not with hepatic fat content. There was no correlation between ApEn and the AT depots studied. In multiple regression analysis, pulsatile GH secretion correlated inversely with thigh IMAT (B-coefficient = −0.67; P < 0.01), whereas the correlation with VAT became non-significant. Furthermore, in multiple regression analysis, basal GH secretion correlated negatively with VAT (B-coefficient = −0.77; P = 0.001), but not significantly with thigh IMAT.
Conclusion: In post-menopausal women with abdominal obesity, pulsatile GH secretion demonstrated an independent, negative association with thigh IMAT, whereas basal GH secretion showed an independent, negative association with VAT. These findings suggest that the neuroendocrine association between fat mass and somatotropic axis is depot-dependent. We have identified thigh IMAT to be important in this interplay.