The growth hormone (GH)-insulin-like growth factor axis during testosterone replacement therapy in GH-treated hypopituitary males

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Several studies suggest a direct effect of sex steroids on insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) production. Oestrogen has been hypothesized directly to inhibit hepatic IGF-I production, but the role of androgens is not clarified. We aimed to investigate whether testosterone exerts a pituitary-independent effect on IGF-I and related parameters. Eight adult hypopituitary men (39.9 +/- 5.7 years) receiving growth hormone (GH) and testosterone replacement therapy (250 mg testosterone enantate every fourth week) participated in this prospective study. Frequent blood samples were drawn over a 5 week period in relation to two testosterone injections. Mean baseline IGF-I levels were 352 +/- 135 microg/L, and they remained unaltered during the study period (analysis of variance (ANOVA), P = 0.88). Free IGF-I levels did not change either (ANOVA, P = 0.35). Serum IGF binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3) and acid-labile subunit decreased (ANOVA, P = 0.04 and P = 0.02 respectively) but post hoc analysis did not reveal a particular difference between days. IGFBP-1 increased following testosterone administration (ANOVA, P = 0.05), whereas GH binding protein levels tended to decrease following testosterone administration (ANOVA, P = 0.08). Prostate-specific antigen tended slightly to increase after each testosterone injection (ANOVA, P = 0.08, post hoc, NS). We conclude that major changes in total IGF-I are not induced during conventional intramuscular testosterone replacement in GH-treated hypopituitary males, suggesting that testosterone effects on IGF-I are likely to be secondary to a stimulation of endogenous GH release.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGrowth Hormone & I G F Research
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)104-9
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2001

ID: 48486025