Serum homocysteine concentrations in children with growth hormone (GH) deficiency before and after 12 months GH replacement.Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 2004 Nov; 61(5):607-11.CE
This open, prospective study was designed to evaluate the effect of growth hormone deficiency (GHD) and GH replacement therapy on serum homocysteine (Hcy) concentration in children with GHD.
Seventeen prepubertal children with GHD (11 boys and six girls) aged 8.6 +/- 1.9 years were studied before and after 12 months of GH replacement therapy at a dose of GH of 30 microg/kg/day. Seventeen healthy children acted as controls and were matched for age, sex and body mass index (BMI).
At study entry, height, weight, blood pressure, serum Hcy, serum IGF-I, total-low density lipoprotein (LDL)- and high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, triglycerides, free T4, free T3, vitamin B12, folate, glucose and creatinine were measured in all subjects. The atherogenic index (AI) was also calculated as the ratio of total cholesterol/HDL cholesterol (T/HDL). In GHD children these parameters were also revaluated after 12 months of GH therapy.
At study entry height and serum IGF-I were significantly lower, as expected, in GHD patients than in controls (P < 0.0001 and P < 0.007, respectively). Serum Hcy levels were significantly higher in GHD patients than in healthy children (8.4 +/- 2.9 vs. 6.0 +/- 2.9 micromol/l; P < 0.03), although the absolute values were within the normal values for age and sex. There were no significant differences at baseline with respect to blood pressure, serum vitamin B12, folate, fT3, fT4, lipid profile, creatinine and glucose levels. After 12 months of GH replacement therapy height and serum IGF-I increased significantly compared to pretreatment values (P < 0.0001); serum Hcy levels decreased significantly (6.0 +/- 3.3 micromol/l; P < 0.002) compared to baseline values, becoming similar to control values. Total cholesterol (3.5 +/- 0.6 mmol/l) and the AI (2.5 +/- 0.8) decreased significantly with respect to both pretreatment (4.2 +/- 1.0 mmol/l; P < 0.0002 and 3.4 +/- 0.8; < 0.002, respectively) and control values (4.2 +/- 0.4 mmol/l; P < 0.0005 and 3.3 +/- 1.1; P = 0.02, respectively).
GHD in children is associated with higher serum levels of Hcy compared to controls, without significantly affecting the lipid profile. GH replacement for 12 months significantly decreased the Hcy levels and improved the lipid profile with a decrease of total cholesterol and the total/HDL cholesterol ratio, compared to pretreatment values. Given the small number of patients, further larger studies are needed to clarify whether these results may have significant effects in the prevention of cardiovascular disease in adulthood.