Does growth hormone (GH) enhance growth in GH-deficient children with myelomeningocele?

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2000 Aug;85(8):2740-3. doi: 10.1210/jcem.85.8.6724.


GH deficiency (GHD) in patients with myelomeningocele leads to the question of whether these disabled patients should be treated with human GH. To date, only a few short-term reports of GH therapy are available in the literature, and long-term data for final height are lacking. We report auxological and laboratory data for seven prepubertal myelomeningocele patients with proven GHD (idiopathic GHD or neurosecretory dysfunction) during GH treatment. All patients (five males and two females; median chronological age, 6.6 yr) had shunted hydrocephalus and were treated with GH (0.5 IU/kg x week; 0.15 mg/kg x week; daily sc injections) over a median period of 38 months (range, 35-49 months). GH secretion was analyzed by measurement of spontaneous overnight GH secretion and two standard stimulation tests. Auxological parameters, bone age, serum levels of insulin-like growth factor I and insulin-like growth factor-binding protein-3, and neurological and orthopedic status were documented regularly. Median growth velocity of supine length improved during treatment (at start, 3.7 cm/yr; after 36 months, 5.7 cm/yr; P < 0.05), with highest levels 6 months after the start of therapy (8.1 cm/yr). The growth velocity of arm span was greater than these values. Supine length SD score for chronological age increased from -4.71 (at start) to -3.35 (after 36 months; P = NS), length SD score for bone age increased from -2.70 to -2.23 (P = NS), and arm span SD score increased from -2.98 to -1.75 (P < 0.05). The growth velocities of length and arm span remained significantly above the pretreatment values (P < 0.05). Symptomatic tethered cord associated with progression of scoliosis developed in two of seven children. GH treatment significantly improved the growth velocities of body length and arm span. However, the increase in length SD score was not significant, whereas arm span SD scores significantly improved over the study period.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Body Height
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Growth / drug effects
  • Human Growth Hormone / deficiency*
  • Human Growth Hormone / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Hypopituitarism / complications*
  • Hypopituitarism / drug therapy*
  • Hypopituitarism / physiopathology
  • Infant
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 1 / blood
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3 / blood
  • Male
  • Meningomyelocele / complications*
  • Meningomyelocele / physiopathology
  • Time Factors


  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 1
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor Binding Protein 3
  • Human Growth Hormone