Effects of growth hormone on pulmonary function, sleep quality, behavior, cognition, growth velocity, body composition, and resting energy expenditure in Prader-Willi syndrome

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2003 May;88(5):2206-12. doi: 10.1210/jc.2002-021536.


The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of GH administration on pulmonary function, sleep, behavior, cognition, linear growth velocity, body composition, and resting energy expenditure (REE) in children with Prader-Willi syndrome. The study used a 12-month, balanced, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over experimental design. Twelve subjects were randomized to GH (0.043 mg/kg x d) or placebo intervention for 6 months and then crossed over to the alternate intervention for 6 months. Differences in outcome variables were determined by paired t tests. Peak flow rate, percentage vital capacity, and forced expiratory flow rate improved and number of hypopnea and apnea events and duration of apnea events trended toward improvement after GH intervention. The only difference in cognition or behavior was an increase in hyperactivity scale on the Behavior Assessment System for Children after GH intervention. Linear growth velocity, REE, and lean mass were higher (67%, 19%, and 7.6%, respectively), and fat mass and percentage body fat were lower (10.3% and 8.1%, respectively) after GH intervention. GH administration did not change mean fasting ghrelin concentration. GH intervention improved body composition and REE and may contribute to better sleep quality and pulmonary function. GH administration did not impact fasting ghrelin concentration.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Determination by Skeleton
  • Behavior / drug effects
  • Body Composition / drug effects*
  • Body Height
  • Body Weight
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cognition / drug effects
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Energy Metabolism / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Growth / drug effects
  • Human Growth Hormone / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Lung / drug effects
  • Lung / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Placebos
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Sleep / drug effects*


  • Placebos
  • Human Growth Hormone