Fasting levels of growth hormone are associated with carotid intima media thickness but are not affected by fluvastatin treatment

BMC Cardiovasc Disord. 2017 May 16;17(1):125. doi: 10.1186/s12872-017-0563-9.


Background: Growth hormone (GH) has been linked to cardiovascular disease but the exact mechanism of this association is still unclear. We here test if the fasting levels of GH are cross-sectionally associated with carotid intima media thickness (IMT) and whether treatment with fluvastatin affects the fasting level of GH.

Methods: We examined the association between GH and IMT in 4425 individuals (aged 46-68 years) included in the baseline examination (1991-1994) of the Malmö Diet and Cancer cardiovascular cohort (MDC-CC). From that cohort we then studied 472 individuals (aged 50-70 years) who also participated (1994-1999) in the β-Blocker Cholesterol-Lowering Asymptomatic Plaque Study (BCAPS), a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled, single-center clinical trial. Using multivariate linear regression models we related the change in GH-levels at 12 months compared with baseline to treatment with 40 mg fluvastatin once daily.

Results: In MDC-CC fasting values of GH exhibited a positive cross-sectional relation to the IMT at the carotid bulb independent of traditional cardiovascular risk factors (p = 0.002). In a gender-stratified analysis the correlation were significant for males (p = 0.005), but not for females (p = 0.09). Treatment with fluvastatin was associated with a minor reduction in the fasting levels of hs-GH in males (p = 0.05) and a minor rise in the same levels among females (p = 0.05).

Conclusions: We here demonstrate that higher fasting levels of GH are associated with thicker IMT in the carotid bulb in males. Treatment with fluvastatin for 12 months only had a minor, and probably not clinically relevant, effect on the fasting levels of hs-GH.

Keywords: Cardiovascular disease; Growth hormone; Imt; Lipids; Statins.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-1 Receptor Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / blood
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / epidemiology
  • Carotid Intima-Media Thickness*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Fasting / blood*
  • Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Fluvastatin
  • Human Growth Hormone / blood*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Indoles / therapeutic use*
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Metoprolol / therapeutic use
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Factors
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Adrenergic beta-1 Receptor Antagonists
  • Biomarkers
  • Fatty Acids, Monounsaturated
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Indoles
  • Human Growth Hormone
  • Fluvastatin
  • Metoprolol