Short-term effect of recombinant human growth hormone in patients with alcoholic cirrhosis

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S Møller, U Becker, M Grønbaek, A Juul, K Winkler, N E Skakkebaek

As growth hormone possesses anabolic properties that are active on protein metabolism, and thus of potential benefit to patients with chronic liver disease, we determined the metabolic effects of recombinant human growth hormone on insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) its specific binding proteins, and liver function. Twenty consecutive patients with cirrhosis were randomized to recombinant human growth hormone (Norditropin, 4 I.U. twice daily) subcutaneously for 6 weeks (n = 10) or conventional medical treatment (n = 10). The serum concentrations of insulin-like growth factor-I in the recombinant human growth hormone group increased after 3 (p <0.01) and 6 weeks (p <0.02), whereas no significant changes were observed in the control group. The change in insulin-like growth factor-I during the treatment period was expressed as area under the curve (AUC). The AUCIGF-I was significantly larger in the recombinant human growth hormone group (median AUCIGF-I: 12.1, range: 0.0-54.7 weeks.nmol/l) than in the control group (median AUCIGF-I: 0.2, range: -10.6-9.9 weeks.nmol/l) (p <0.007). Insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3 concentrations increased in the recombinant human growth hormone treated patients as well as in controls, whereas no change in insulin-like growth factor binding protein-1 concentrations was found. No significant changes were seen in the area under the curve for biochemical liver function tests. We conclude that administration of recombinant human growth hormone induces an increase in very low levels of insulin-like growth factor-I, even in patients with cirrhosis with advanced disease, but the clinical benefits remain to be demonstrated.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Hepatology
Volume21
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)710-7
Number of pages8
ISSN0168-8278
Publication statusPublished - 1994

ID: 48486846