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  • Author: Laila Füchtbauer x
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Laila Füchtbauer, Daniel S Olsson, Bengt-Åke Bengtsson, Lise-Lott Norrman, Katharina S Sunnerhagen and Gudmundur Johannsson

Objective

Patients with acromegaly have decreased body fat (BF) and increased extracellular water (ECW) and muscle mass. Although there is a lack of systematic studies on muscle function, it is believed that patients with acromegaly may suffer from proximal muscle weakness despite their increased muscle mass. We studied body composition and muscle function in untreated acromegaly and after biochemical remission.

Design

Prospective observational study.

Methods

Patients with acromegaly underwent measurements of muscle strength (dynamometers) and body composition (four-compartment model) at diagnosis (n = 48), 1 year after surgery (n = 29) and after long-term follow-up (median 11 years) (n = 24). Results were compared to healthy subjects.

Results

Untreated patients had increased body cell mass (113 ± 9% of predicted) and ECW (110 ± 20%) and decreased BF (67 ± 7.6%). At one-year follow-up, serum concentration of IGF-I was reduced and body composition had normalized. At baseline, isometric muscle strength in knee flexors and extensors was normal and concentric strength was modestly increased whereas grip strength and endurance was reduced. After one year, muscle strength was normal in both patients with still active disease and patients in remission. At long-term follow-up, all patients were in remission. Most muscle function tests remained normal, but isometric flexion and the fatigue index were increased to 153 ± 42% and 139 ± 28% of predicted values, respectively.

Conclusions

Patients with untreated acromegaly had increased body cell mass and normal or modestly increased proximal muscle strength, whereas their grip strength was reduced. After biochemical improvement and remission, body composition was normalized, hand grip strength was increased, whereas proximal muscle fatigue increased.

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Laila Füchtbauer, Daniel S Olsson, Eva C Coopmans, Bengt-Åke Bengtsson, Lise-Lott Norrman, Sebastian J C M M Neggers, Ann Hellström and Gudmundur Johannsson

Objective

Excess of growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1), as in acromegaly, is associated with increased risk of diabetes, but whether retinal vessels are altered is unknown. The aim of this study was to evaluate retinal vessel morphology in patients with acromegaly at diagnosis and after treatment and to describe the prevalence of diabetic retinopathy in patients with long-standing acromegaly and diabetes.

Design

Two independent observational studies, one being prospective and the other retrospective and cross-sectional.

Methods

Retinal vessel morphology of 26 patients with acromegaly was examined at diagnosis and 1 year after treatment and compared to 13 healthy controls. Cross-sectional evaluation of 39 patients with long-standing acromegaly and diabetes was performed. Fundus photographs were digitally analyzed for vessel morphology.

Results

Patients with acromegaly had a median (interquartile range) of 34.3 (30.0–39.0) vessel branching points compared to 27.0 (24.0–29.0) for healthy controls (P < 0.001). Tortuosity of arterioles and venules remained unchanged. Vessel morphology did not change significantly after treatment. Patients with acromegaly and diabetes for a median of 14 years also had a high number of branching points (34.2 (32.5–35.6)), but the prevalence of diabetic retinopathy was not higher than expected in diabetic patients without acromegaly.

Conclusions

Patients with acromegaly have an increased number of vascular branching points in the retina without an alteration of macroscopic vessel morphology. This is consistent with an angiogenic effect of GH/IGF-1 in humans. The prevalence of diabetic retinopathy was not increased in patients with acromegaly and diabetes.