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Miriam A Bredella, Eleanor Lin, Danielle J Brick, Anu V Gerweck, Lindsey M Harrington, Martin Torriani, Bijoy J Thomas, David A Schoenfeld, Anne Breggia, Clifford J Rosen, Linda C Hemphill, Zida Wu, Nader Rifai, Andrea L Utz, and Karen K Miller

Objective

Abdominal adiposity is associated with increased cardiovascular risk and decreased GH secretion. The objective of our study was to determine the effects of GH on body composition and cardiovascular risk markers in abdominally obese women.

Materials and methods

In this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 79 obese premenopausal women received GH vs placebo for 6 months. Primary endpoints were i) total abdominal (total abdominal adipose tissue, TAT) fat by computed tomography (CT) (body composition) and ii) high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) (cardiovascular risk marker). Body composition was assessed by CT, dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, and proton MR spectroscopy. Serum cardiovascular risk markers, carotid intima-media thickness, and endothelial function were measured.

Results

Mean 6-month GH dose was 1.7±0.1 mg/day, resulting in a mean IGF1 SDS increase from −1.7±0.08 to −0.1±0.3 in the GH group. GH administration decreased TAT and hsCRP compared with placebo. In addition, it increased thigh muscle mass and lean body mass and decreased subcutaneous abdominal and trunk fat, tissue plasminogen activator, apoB, and apoB/low-density lipoprotein compared with placebo. Visceral adipose tissue (VAT) decreased and intramyocellular lipid increased within the GH group. Six-month change in IGF1 levels was negatively associated with 6-month decrease in TAT and VAT. One subject had a 2 h glucose >200 mg/ml at 3 months; four subjects, three of whom were randomized to GH, had 2 h glucose levels >200 mg/ml at the end of the study.

Conclusion

GH administration in abdominally obese premenopausal women exerts beneficial effects on body composition and cardiovascular risk markers but is associated with a decrease in glucose tolerance in a minority of women.