Objective: Growth hormone (GH) treatment decreases total body fat while this effect has not yet been documented for the oral GH secretagogue MK-677. In the present study, the effects of MK-677 treatment on serum levels of leptin, thyroid hormones and testosterone were determined.
Design: This was a randomized, double-blind, and parallel study. Twenty-four healthy obese males, 19-49 years of age, with body mass index (BMI) > 30 kg/m2 and a waist:hip ratio > 0.95, were treated with MK-677 (25 mg/day; n = 12) or placebo (n = 12) for 8 weeks.
Results: MK-677 treatment increased serum leptin levels and leptin/body fat ratio at 2 weeks of treatment (P < 0.05 vs. placebo) but no significant change was observed at 8 weeks. An increase in serum free 3, 5, 3'-triiodothyronine (free T3) was not detected until 8 weeks of MK-677 treatment (P < 0.05 vs. placebo). Peak serum thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) concentration after MK-677 administration was similar to that after placebo administration at initiation of treatment and at 2 weeks. At 8 weeks of MK-677 treatment, mean peak serum TSH concentration was increased (P < 0.05 vs. placebo) although it remained within the normal range. Serum peak values of luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) were similar after MK-677 and placebo administration. MK-677 treatment reduced serum total testosterone (P < 0.05 vs. placebo) although total testosterone/sex hormone-binding globulin (SHBG) ratio (an index of free testosterone) was not changed.
Conclusion: Treatment with the oral GH secretagogue MK-677 transiently increased serum leptin levels and leptin/body fat ratio at 2 weeks of treatment, and increased serum free T3 after 8 weeks. These results indicate that MK-677 treatment is able to affect circulating factors of importance for adipose tissue mass and fuel metabolism.