Author(s): Bondanelli M, Ambrosio MR, degli Uberti EC
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Abstract Hypertension is an important complication of acromegaly, contributing to the increased morbidity and mortality of this condition. Prevalence of hypertension in acromegalic patients is about 35\%, ranging from 18 to 60\% in different clinical series, and the incidence is higher than in the general population. The lowering of blood pressure observed concomitantly with the reduction in GH levels after successful therapy for acromegaly suggests a relationship between GH and/or IGF-I excess and hypertension. The exact mechanisms underlying the development of hypertension in acromegaly are still not clear but may include several factors depending on the chronic exposure to GH and/or IGF-I excess. Experimental and clinical studies suggest that the anti-natriuretic action of GH (due to direct renal action of GH or IGF-I and/or to indirect, systemic GH or IGF-I-mediated mechanisms) may play a role in the pathogenesis of hypertension. Acromegaly is frequently associated with insulin resistance and hyperinsulinaemia which may induce hypertension by stimulating renal sodium absorption and sympathetic nervous activity. Whether sympathetic tone is altered in acromegalic hypertensive patients remains a matter of debate. Recent studies indicate that an increased sympathetic tone and/or abnormalities in the circadian activity of sympathetic system could play an important role in development and/or maintenance of elevated blood pressure in acromegaly, and may partially account for the increased risk of cardiovascular complications. Acromegalic cardiomiopathy may also concur to elevate blood pressure and can be aggravated by the coexistence of hypertension. Finally, a role of GH and IGF-I as vascular growth factors cannot be excluded. In conclusion, acromegaly is associated with hypertension, but there is still no real consensus in the literature on the mechanisms behind the development of the high blood pressure.
This article was published in Pituitary
and referenced in Endocrinology & Metabolic Syndrome