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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Bone mineral density of the axial skeleton in acromegaly.

Acromegaly is characterized by growth hormone (GH) hypersecretion and insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) excess, both of which stimulate osteoblast proliferation. At diagnosis, GH excess has usually been present for years. Furthermore, impaired gonadotropin secretion with hypogonadism is frequent. To date, studies of changes in bone mineral density (BMD) in acromegaly have been limited and the available data inconsistent. To investigate the effects of GH excess on proximal femur and lumbar spine BMD, a case series of 25 patients with acromegaly (8 eugonadal, 17 hypogonadal) documented by high plasma GH and IGF-I concentrations was studied. BMD was measured using dual-photon absorptiometry, hormonal and biochemical measurements, which included GH, IGF-I, serum calcium, phosphate, alkaline phosphatase, 1,25 dihydroxy vitamin D and urinary calcium and hydroxyproline excretion. Seven patients were re-studied after IGF-I was suppressed for six months by the somatostatin analog 201-995 (five patients) or pituitary adenomectomy (two patients). BMD was normal in 22 patients and was decreased at one site each in one eugonadal and two hypogonadal patients. BMD was similar between the eugonadal and hypogonadal groups at all sites. Urinary hydroxyproline excretion was equally increased in both groups. There was no correlation between any of the hormonal or biochemical parameters and the age, sex, race and body mass index matched Z-scores of BMD at any site. Following normalization of IGF-I for 6 mo in seven patients, there was no significant change of BMD. We conclude that proximal femoral and lumbar spine BMD is normal in most patients with active acromegaly, including those who are hypogonad. Successful treatment of acromegaly does not result in major short-term changes in BMD.[1]


  1. Bone mineral density of the axial skeleton in acromegaly. Ho, P.J., Fig, L.M., Barkan, A.L., Shapiro, B. J. Nucl. Med. (1992) [Pubmed]
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