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

Characterization of the paradoxical growth hormone inhibitory effect of galanin in acromegaly.

Galanin is a 29-amino acid straight-chain biologically active peptide which has been found to decrease circulating GH levels in some acromegalic patients, whereas is able to increase GH secretion in normal subjects. The aim of our study was to ascertain the incidence, entity and mechanism of the paradoxical GH inhibitory effect of galanin in acromegaly also looking at possible correlations between the GH responses to galanin and the main clinical and biochemical features of the patients. Finally, the effects of either successful or unsuccessful neurosurgical intervention on the GH inhibitory effect of galanin in acromegaly were investigated. A series of 23 consecutive patients with active acromegaly seen at the Endocrine Section of the Department of Internal Medicine of the University of Brescia (Italy) between 1991 and 1994 was examined. The acromegalic patients were subdivided in group 1 (i.e. patients who were 1) untreated, 2) evaluated before surgery, and 3) not cured after surgery and radiotherapy) and group 2 (i.e. surgically cured). All patients were submitted at least once to the following biochemical and radiological evaluations: 1) baseline serum insulin-like growth factor-I and PRL samples, 2) iv infusion of synthetic porcine galanin (500 micrograms in 100 mL saline) from -10 to 30 min, 3) iv bolus injection of TRH (200 micrograms) at time zero, 4) oral glucose tolerance test (75 g glucose, orally) at time zero, and 5) magnetic resonance of the pituitary sella. Adenomatous tissue obtained during neurosurgery in four patients was cultured in vitro, and the effect of the addition of galanin in the culture medium on GH secretion was tested. During galanin infusion in 19 of 21 group 1 patients, serum GH levels were lower with respect to baseline (range of GH decrease, -6.2 to -85.4% with respect to basal levels). During galanin infusion, no reductions in GH levels were observed in the acromegalic patients cured after neurosurgery (group 2); on the contrary, 6 of 7 patients displayed a normal stimulatory response to galanin (range of GH increase, +120-1533.3% of the basal level). A significant correlation between the percent decrease in GH levels after galanin treatment and the percent increase after TRH was found in group 1 patients (r = -0.783; P < 0.05). In three of the four adenomas examined, galanin determined a clear decrease in GH secretion (mean nadir, 63.3 +/- 12% of the baseline secretion rate). In conclusion, we demonstrated that the large majority of numerous patients with active acromegaly show a decrease in serum GH levels after galanin administration.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)[1]


  1. Characterization of the paradoxical growth hormone inhibitory effect of galanin in acromegaly. Giustina, A., Bresciani, E., Bussi, A.R., Bollati, A., Bonfanti, C., Bugari, G., Chiesa, L., Giustina, G. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab. (1995) [Pubmed]
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