Growth hormone and HIV infection: contribution to disease manifestations and clinical implications

Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Jun;25(3):517-29. doi: 10.1016/j.beem.2010.11.001.


In untreated HIV patients growth hormone deficiency contributes to loss of lean and fat mass. Pharmacologic doses of growth hormone successfully reverse this wasting process. In patients responding to antiretroviral therapies several non AIDS-related complications usually common among older, uninfected persons now occur more frequently in younger HIV patients. Among these conditions are cardiovascular disease and metabolic disorders. Although their etiology is multifactorial, changes in growth hormone biology reflecting relative growth hormone deficiency occur and may be involved. In these patients truncal obesity, and associated dyslipidemia and glucose homeostasis changes contribute to impaired quality of life and increased cardiovascular risk. Treatment with growth hormone and growth hormone releasing factor leads to short-term improvement of some of these abnormalities. This paper will review abnormalities of growth hormone biology and the use of growth hormone and growth hormone releasing factor as therapeutic agents in HIV patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antiretroviral Therapy, Highly Active / adverse effects
  • Growth Hormone-Releasing Hormone / therapeutic use
  • HIV Infections / blood
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy
  • HIV Wasting Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • HIV-Associated Lipodystrophy Syndrome / chemically induced
  • HIV-Associated Lipodystrophy Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Human Growth Hormone / blood
  • Human Growth Hormone / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Recombinant Proteins / therapeutic use*


  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Human Growth Hormone
  • Growth Hormone-Releasing Hormone