Impairment of adipose tissue in Prader-Willi syndrome rescued by growth hormone treatment

Int J Obes (Lond). 2014 Sep;38(9):1234-40. doi: 10.1038/ijo.2014.3. Epub 2014 Jan 10.


Background: Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS) results from abnormalities in the genomic imprinting process leading to hypothalamic dysfunction with an alteration of growth hormone (GH) secretion. PWS is associated with early morbid obesity and short stature which can be efficiently improved with GH treatment.

Objectives: Our aims were to highlight adipose tissue structural and functional impairments in children with PWS and to study the modifications of those parameters on GH treatment.

Subjects and methods: Plasma samples and adipose tissue biopsies were obtained from 23 research centers in France coordinated by the reference center for PWS in Toulouse, France. Lean controls (n=33), non-syndromic obese (n=53), untreated (n=26) and GH-treated PWS (n=43) children were enrolled in the study. Adipose tissue biopsies were obtained during scheduled surgeries from 15 lean control, 7 untreated and 8 GH-treated PWS children.

Results: Children with PWS displayed higher insulin sensitivity as shown by reduced glycemia, insulinemia and HOMA-IR compared with non-syndromic obese children. In contrast, plasma inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-α, MCP-1 and IL-8 were increased in PWS. Analysis of biopsies compared with control children revealed decreased progenitor cell content in the stromal vascular fraction of adipose tissue and an impairment of lipolytic response to β-adrenergic agonist in PWS adipocytes. Interestingly, both of these alterations in PWS seem to be ameliorated on GH treatment.

Conclusion: Herein, we report adipose tissue dysfunctions in children with PWS which may be partially restored by GH treatment.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adipocytes / metabolism
  • Adipose Tissue / drug effects*
  • Adipose Tissue / metabolism
  • Adolescent
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Body Composition
  • Body Height / drug effects*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • France
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy*
  • Human Growth Hormone / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Lipolysis
  • Male
  • Obesity, Morbid / drug therapy*
  • Obesity, Morbid / etiology
  • Obesity, Morbid / metabolism
  • Pediatric Obesity / drug therapy*
  • Pediatric Obesity / etiology
  • Pediatric Obesity / metabolism
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome / complications
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome / drug therapy*
  • Prader-Willi Syndrome / metabolism
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Blood Glucose
  • Human Growth Hormone