Objective: To investigate, in a large group of postmenopausal primary hyperparathyroidism (PHP) women, whether the concomitance of GH deficiency (GHD) may contribute to the development of changes in bone mineral density (BMD).
Design: GH secretion, bone status and metabolism were investigated in 50 postmenopausal women with PHP and in a control group of 60 women with no evidence of PHP, matched for age, age at menopause and body mass index (BMI).
Methods: GH response to growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH)+arginine (Arg), femoral neck BMD (g/cm2) by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry, BMI, serum-ionized calcium, parathyroid hormone (PTH) and markers of bone remodelling were evaluated in all patients and controls.
Results: Among PHP patients, GH secretion was reduced (8.8 ± 4.2 μg/l, range 1.1–16.5 μg/l) in 34 patients and normal (28.7 ± 11.8 μg/l, range 17.9–55.7 μg/l) in the remaining 16 (P < 0.05), no women in the control group had GHD (peak GH 33.8 ± 10.9 μg/l, range 21.7 ± 63.2 μg/l). Osteoporosis (T-score < − 2.5) and osteopenia (T-score > −2.5 and < −1) were found in 73.5 and 17.6% of GHD patients, in 37.5 and 43.7% of patients with normal GH secretion and 3.1 and 27% of controls. T-score and BMD were not correlated with ionized calcium, age, age at menopause, BMI, GH peak and IGF-I but were correlated with serum PTH levels in both groups. T-score was correlated with serum levels of markers of bone remodelling only in PHP patients with GHD.
Conclusions: Concomitant impairment of GH secretion may play a pathogenetic role in the occurrence of changes in bone mass observed in PHP and contribute to make them more severe.