Active acromegaly is associated with insulin resistance, but it is uncertain whether inflammation in adipose tissue is a contributing factor.
To test if GH/IGF1 promotes inflammation in adipocytes, and if this is relevant for systemic insulin resistance in acromegaly. Furthermore, to investigate the effect of treatment modalities (transsphenoidal surgery (TS), somatostatin analogs (SAs), and pegvisomant (PGV)) on glucose metabolism and inflammatory biomarkers in acromegaly.
The in vitro effects of GH/IGF1 on gene expression of adipokines in human adipocytes were investigated. Body composition, glucose metabolism, and circulating adipokines (adiponectin (AD), high-molecular weight AD (HMWAD), leptin, vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A), monocyte chemotactic protein 1 (MCP1), and thioredoxin (TRX)) were measured in 37 patients with active acromegaly before and after treatment.
In vitro GH, but not IGF1, increased VEGF and MCP1 in human adipocytes. In all treatment groups, body fat increased and IGF1 decreased to the same extent. Fasting glucose decreased in the TS (P=0.016) and PGV (P=0.042) groups, but tended to increase in the SA group (P=0.078). Insulin and HOMA-IR decreased in both TS and SA groups, while the PGV group showed no changes. Serum VEGF and MCP1 decreased significantly in the TS group only (P=0.010, P=0.002), while HMWAD increased with PGV treatment only (P=0.018). A multivariate analysis model identified the changes in GH and VEGF as predictors of improvement in HOMA-IR after treatment (R 2=0.39, P=0.002).
i) GH directly promotes inflammation of human adipocytes by increasing VEGF and MCP1 levels; ii) glucose metabolism and inflammation (VEGF and MCP1) improve to some extent after treatment, despite an increase in adipose tissue mass; and iii) the decrease in insulin resistance after therapy in acromegaly depends, to some extent, on treatment modalities.