Objective: To study the effects of human growth hormone (hGH) replacement on serum lipids and lipoprotein (a) (Lp(a)) concentrations.
Design: A randomized double blind placebo controlled trial for 6 months followed by an open trial where all patients were treated with hGH for a further 6 months. Treatment was with recombinant hGH given in a dose of 0.125U/kg/wk increasing to 0.25U/Kg/wk.
Patients: Thirty two patients with growth hormone deficiency were recruited, but two withdrew because of side effects. Of the thirty patients (age 35.1 +/- 11.8 year; mean +/- SD) completing the study 13 of were assigned to the placebo group for six months and 17 to active treatment from the start.
Measurements: Fasting serum samples were analysed for total cholesterol, High density lipoprotein (HDL)-cholesterol, HDL-subfractions, triglycerides, lipoprotein (a) (Lp(a)) and IGF-1. LDL-cholesterol was calculated using the Friedewald formula.
Results: Compared to placebo, 6 months treatment with hGH therapy resulted in increased IGF-1 (37.6 +/- 4.1 vs. 14.0 +/- 2.2 nmol/l, P < 0.01), but there was no significant difference in any of the lipid parameters measured between placebo and active treatment groups at 6 months. hGH was associated with a decrease in HDL-cholesterol concentration from baseline to 6 months (0.97 +/- 0.08 to 0.76 +/- 0.10 mmol/l P < 0.01), especially within the HDL2 subfraction. This reduction was maintained at 12 months. There was no change in Lp(a) concentrations from 0 to 6 months (placebo -26 (-340 to 82), median and range, active -4 (-586 to 212) mg/l). There was no change in total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, triglycerides or proportion of HDL subfractions.
Conclusions: Treatment with hGH can reduce serum HDL-cholesterol concentrations. Further investigation of this is required.