Author(s): Hilding A, Hall K, WivallHelleryd IL, Sf M, Melin AL,
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Abstract Serum insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) levels within normal range for age have been reported to be common in adults with GH deficiency (GHD). Therefore, serum IGF-I levels were determined in 152 consecutive patients (71 women and 81 men) with evidence of hypothalamic-pituitary disorders or previous cranial radiation, who fulfilled the presently used criteria for GHD i.e. peak GH response below 3 microg/L at stimulation test. Patients treated for acromegaly were excluded. Forty-three patients, aged 19-63 yr, had childhood onset GHD, and 109, aged 23-82 yr, had adult-onset GHD. Their IGF-I levels were expressed in SD scores in relation to normal reference values based on 448 healthy subjects, aged 20-96 yr (247 women and 201 men). In healthy subjects a linear inverse correlation, without gender difference, was found between logarithmic transformed IGF-I levels and age (r = -0.774; P < 0.001). In contrast, no age dependency was found in GHD patients. All patients with childhood-onset GHD had IGF-I values below -2 SD, significantly lower than those in adult-onset GHD patients (-6.2 +/- 0.3 vs. -3.2 +/- 0.2 SD score; P < 0.001). In patients with adult-onset GHD, 34\% of the IGF-I levels were within normal range, increasing to 40\% in the subgroup above 60 yr of age, in whom 86\% were diagnosed with hypothalamic-pituitary tumors. Normal IGF-I was more common in men than in women, but no difference was observed between patients with panhypopituitarism and those with partial pituitary insufficiency. High frequencies of IGF-I levels within the normal range were found in GHD patients with pituitary tumors (20 of 57 nonsecreting pituitary adenomas, 5 of 15 prolactinomas, 6 of 12 Cushing's disease, and 4 of 25 craniopharyngiomas), but in only 2 of 43 patients with GHD due to other causes. In conclusion, an IGF-I level below -2 SD seems to be of diagnostic value in GHD with onset in childhood or early adulthood, whereas values within normal range are common in patients over 60 yr of age, especially those with pituitary tumors. The outcome of GH replacement therapy may reveal whether the addition of IGF-I as a diagnostic criterion is of predictive value in older patients.
This article was published in J Clin Endocrinol Metab
and referenced in Journal of Diabetes & Metabolism