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C L Ronchi, C Giavoli, E Ferrante, E Verrua, S Bergamaschi, D I Ferrari, S Corbetta, L Montefusco, M Arosio, B Ambrosi, A Spada and P Beck-Peccoz


Radiotherapy (RT) for pituitary adenomas, including GH-secreting ones, frequently leads to GH deficiency (GHD). Data on the effects of surgery alone (S) on dynamic GH secretion are limited. The aim of the study was to investigate the occurrence of GHD in acromegalic patients treated with different therapeutic options.

Design and methods

Fifty-six patients in remission from acromegaly, (33 F & 23 M, age: 54±13 years, body mass index (BMI): 28.4±4.1 kg/m2, 21 with adequately substituted pituitary deficiencies) treated by S alone (n=33, group 1) or followed by RT (n=23, group 2), were investigated for GHD by GHRH plus arginine testing, using BMI-adjusted cut-offs. Several metabolic and cardiovascular parameters (waist circumference, body fat percentage, blood pressure, fasting and post-oral glucose tolerance test glucose, HbA1c, insulin resistance and lipid profile) were evaluated in all the patients and 28 control subjects with known diagnosis of GHD.


Serum GH peak after challenge was 8.0±9.7 μg/l, without any correlation with post-glucose GH nadir and IGF-1 levels. The GH response indicated severe GHD in 34 patients (61%) and partial GHD in 15 patients (27%). IGF-1 were below the normal range in 14 patients (25%). The frequency of GHD was similar in the two treatment groups (54% in group 1 and 70% in group 2). No significant differences in metabolic parameters were observed between acromegalic patients and controls with GHD.


Severe GHD may occur in about 60% of patients treated for acromegaly, even when cured after S alone. Thus, a stimulation test (i.e. GHRH plus arginine) is recommended in all cured acromegalic patients, independently from previous treatment.

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Claudia Giavoli, Emanuele Ferrante, Eriselda Profka, Luca Olgiati, Silvia Bergamaschi, Cristina L Ronchi, Elisa Verrua, Marcello Filopanti, Elena Passeri, Laura Montefusco, Andrea G Lania, Sabrina Corbetta, Maura Arosio, Bruno Ambrosi, Anna Spada and Paolo Beck-Peccoz


A common polymorphic variant of GH receptor (exon 3 deletion, d3GHR) has been linked with increased response to recombinant human GH (rhGH) in some patients with or without GH deficiency (GHD). The aim of the study was to investigate the impact of the GHR genotype on the phenotype of GHD adults and on the metabolic effect of rhGH therapy.


Prospective study of GHD patients evaluated before and during short- (1 year, n=100) and long-term (5 years, n=50) rhGH therapy.


Effects of rhGH on IGF1 levels, body composition (body fat percentage, BF%), body mass index, lipid profile, and glucose homeostasis (fasting insulin and glucose, insulin sensitivity indexes) were evaluated according to the presence or the absence of the d3GHR variant.


The different genotype did not influence basal phenotype of GHD. Short-term rhGH determined normalization of IGF1 levels, decrease in BF%, and worsening of insulin sensitivity, independently from the presence of the d3GHR allele. A significant increase in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol occurred in the d3GHR group. Normalization of IGF1 levels and decrease in BF% were maintained after 5 years. Insulin sensitivity restored to basal values, though in d3GHR patients fasting glucose remained significantly higher than at baseline. After both 1 and 5 years, percentage of subjects with impaired glucose tolerance, similar in the two groups at baseline, decreased in fl/fl while doubled in d3GHR patients. In this last group, a long-term significant reduction in total and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol was also observed.


The functional difference of d3GHR may influence some metabolic effects of rhGH on GHD adults.