Author(s): Jones KD, Deodhar P, Lorentzen A, Bennett RM, Deodhar AA
OBJECTIVE: Fibromyalgia (FM) is a syndrome characterized by chronic widespread pain, fatigue, disrupted sleep, depression, and physical deconditioning. In this article, we review the literature on the normal activity of the hypothalamic-pituitary-growth hormone-insulin-like growth factor-1 (HP-GH-IGF-1) axis and its perturbations in FM subjects. METHODS: Studies included in this review were accessed through an English language search of Cochrane Collaboration Reviews. Keyword MeSH terms included "fibromyalgia," "growth hormone" (GH), or "insulin-like growth factor-1" (IGF-1). RESULTS: Twenty-six studies enrolling 2006 subjects were reviewed. Overall, low levels of IGF-1 were found in a subgroup of subjects. Growth hormone stimulation tests often revealed a suboptimal response, which did not always correlate with IGF-1 levels. No consistent defects in pituitary function were found. Of the 3 randomized placebo controlled studies, only 9 months of daily injectable recombinant GH reduced FM symptoms and normalized IGF-1. CONCLUSIONS: These studies suggest that pituitary function is normal in FM and that reported changes in the HP-GH-IGF-1 axis are most likely hypothalamic in origin. The therapeutic efficacy of supplemental GH therapy in FM requires further study before any solid recommendations can be made.