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

Beneficial effects of one-year growth hormone administration to children with juvenile chronic arthritis on chronic steroid therapy. I. Effects on growth velocity and body composition.

Severe growth retardation and profoundly altered body composition are observed in children with systemic forms of juvenile chronic arthritis receiving glucocorticoids. The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of recombinant human GH (rhGH) on growth velocity (GV) and body composition studied by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, during a 1-yr treatment course, together with potential adverse effects on glucose tolerance. Fourteen patients were treated with rhGH (1.4 U/kg per week) for 1 yr and were then studied for a 2nd yr off GH. Baseline GH secretion, GH binding protein (BP), insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), and IGFBP3 levels were at the lower limit of normal. The rhGH treatment increased IGF-I and IGFBP3 plasma levels to above-normal values. All patients showed an increase in GV, and mean GV increased from 1.9-5.4 cm/yr (P < 0.001). Compared with the value on day 0, lean body mass increased by 12.2% (P < 0.01), and the fat mass excess fell by 19.5% (P < 0.01). Decreased glucose tolerance (as determined by oral glucose tolerance test) and increased glycosylated hemoglobin levels were observed during treatment. This effect may be attributed to insulin resistance, as reflected by induced hyperinsulinemia. Eleven children were monitored for 1 yr after the cessation of GH therapy. GV fell to pretreatment values, whereas height in SD score at the end of the 2nd yr was lower (P < 0.01) than before treatment. Weight and fat mass again increased markedly. Although long-term controlled studies are needed to assess the risks and benefits of GH therapy in this setting, our results suggest that rhGH may partially counteract the adverse effects of glucocorticoids on growth and metabolism in patients with chronic inflammatory disease.[1]


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