GH deficiency in adult B-thalassemia major patients and its relationship with IGF-1 production

Pediatr Endocrinol Rev. 2011 Mar;8 Suppl 2:284-9.


Endocrine complications in Β-thalassemia represent a prominent cause of morbidity. Above all, dysfunction of GH-IGF-1 axis is of a major concern because of its pathogenic role on cardiac and bone disease, frequently described in this clinical setting. The aim of this paper is to analyze GH-IGF-1 axis in a cohort of 25 adult patients affected by Β-thalassemia. We found that GH deficiency was present in only 8% of our patients if diagnosis was based on GH peak below 9μg/L to two GH provocative tests instead of only one, and was mainly related to iron overload. On the contrary, IGF-1 production was impaired in a higher percentage of patients (72%), without significant correlation with iron burden. Of note, patients with hepatitis C virus infection showed lower IGF-1 concentrations than uninfected subjects despite a normal GH reserve, suggesting that partial GH insensitivity at the post-receptor level may play a key role in IGF-1 deficiency described in thalassemic patients.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Arginine
  • Calcification, Physiologic / physiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Growth Disorders / diagnosis
  • Growth Disorders / epidemiology
  • Growth Disorders / metabolism
  • Growth Hormone-Releasing Hormone
  • Hepatitis C / epidemiology
  • Hepatitis C / metabolism
  • Human Growth Hormone / blood
  • Human Growth Hormone / deficiency*
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / deficiency*
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I / metabolism
  • Iron Overload / metabolism
  • Laron Syndrome* / diagnosis
  • Laron Syndrome* / epidemiology
  • Laron Syndrome* / metabolism
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Young Adult
  • beta-Thalassemia* / diagnosis
  • beta-Thalassemia* / epidemiology
  • beta-Thalassemia* / metabolism


  • Human Growth Hormone
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Growth Hormone-Releasing Hormone
  • Arginine