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Per Manhem, Lise Heding, Jörgen Malmquist and Bernt Hökfelt

Abstract.

The effect of standing and physical exercise on catecholamines and cyclic nucleotides in plasma was measured in 8 patients with essential hypertension under standardized conditions before and after prolonged treatment with clonidine.

Before clonidine medication noradrenaline, adrenaline and cyclic AMP (cAMP) increased in response to standing and bicycling for 20 min. No significant correlation was found between their absolute levels nor was the increase in cAMP following exercise correlated to the increase in noradrenaline. Standing and physical exercise were without effect on cyclic GMP (cGMP).

Clonidine reduced the plasma noradrenaline concentration in supine position and the noradrenaline and the adrenaline response to standing and exercise. Plasma cAMP was uneffected by clonidine under basal conditions but the response to exercise was slightly reduced initially. During clonidine there was a positive correlation between the plasma levels of cAMP and noradrenaline following work. Clonidine produced an increase in plasma cGMP in supine position, immediately prior to bicycling and after 5 min of exercise.

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Bengt Hallengren, Per Manhem, Margareta Bramnert, Inga Redlund-Johnell and Anders Heijl

Abstract.

In this prospective study, 25 consecutive patients with untreated primary hypothyroidism were tested with a highly sensitive perimetric technique, since a high prevalence of visual field defects has been described in this condition. All patients had clinical hypothyroidism, a serum TSH value > 20 mU/l (reference range 0.4–4.0) and decreased/low normal serum total T4 concentration. Visual fields were tested with fully automated threshold-measuring computerized perimetry of the central 30 degrees field. Interpretation of fields included computer-assisted analysis provided by a perimetric statistical programme package. In 23 patients, conventional inspection and computer-assisted analysis showed no visual field defects. Two patients were excluded from the latter analysis: one patient who did not respond adequately at computerized perimetry and in whom manual field tests were entirely normal; one patient who had low sensitivity values in the uppermost parts of both visual fields owing to markedly swollen upper eye lids. In conclusion, although pituitary hyperplasia has been well documented in primary hypothyroidism, the present prospective study clearly indicates that visual field defects are not a common finding in patients with this disease.

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Marie Degerblad, Bengt-Åke Bengtsson, Margareta Bramnert, Olof Johnell, Per Manhem, Thord Rosén and Marja Thorén

Degerblad M, Bengtsson B-Å, Bramnert M, Johnell O, Manhem P, Rosén T, Thorén M. Reduced bone mineral density in adults with growth hormone (GH) deficiency: increased bone turnover during 12 months of GH substitution therapy. Eur J Endocrinol 1995;133:180–8. ISSN 0804–4643

To evaluate the consequences of growth hormone (GH) deficiency on bone mineral density and to evaluate the effects of GH substitution therapy, 68 adults (25 females and 43 males) aged 22–61 (mean 44.2 ± 1.2) years with GH deficiency (GHD) were studied. Fifty-eight patients had panhypopituitarism, three had isolated GHD and in seven patients at least one additional pituitary function was affected. Twenty-one patients had childhood onset GHD. The patients were randomized to receive either GH in daily injections (0.125 IU · kg−1 · week−1 for the first 4 weeks and subsequently 0.25 IU · kg−1 · week−1) or placebo for 6 months. The trial continued as an open study with GH treatment for 6 or 12 months, with data presented as compiled data of 12 months of GH treatment in 64 patients. Bone mineral density (BMD) was measured by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry and bone turnover was assessed by serum markers of bone metabolism (osteocalcin, procollagen I peptide, crosslinked telopeptide of type I collagen and alkaline phosphatase activity). In women with adult onset GHD (N = 19) and in men with childhood onset GHD (N = 15), total body, spine and hip BMD was significantly reduced at baseline compared to Swedish age- and sex-matched control material. In men with adult onset of GHD (N = 28), BMD did not differ from male controls. During the placebocontrolled period, GH induced decreased total body and spine BMD, probably due to an expansion of the remodelling space, whereas all serum markers of bone turnover increased. Compiled GH data showed similar results after 6 months of treatment. After 12 months of GH treatment, BMD did not differ from basal values except for total body BMD, which was lower, whereas the serum markers of bone metabolism were still increased as compared to basal values. Two-thirds of the patients experienced fluid retention with peripheral oedema and arthralgias on the higher GH dosage. One obese patient developed non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus and was withdrawn from the study. These results demonstrate that GHD has negative effects on BMD and that GH substitution induces increased bone turnover. Continued long-term observations will reveal if there is a positive effect of GH substitution on bone mass in the adult GHD patient.

Marie Degerblad, Department of Endocrinology and Diabetology, Karolinska Hospital, S-17176 Stockholm, Sweden