Cognitive impairments and mood disturbances in growth hormone deficient men

Psychoneuroendocrinology. 1996 Apr;21(3):313-22. doi: 10.1016/0306-4530(95)00050-x.


In order to establish whether reported psychological complaints in hypopituitary adults are related to growth hormone (GH) deficiency or other pituitary hormone deficiencies, emotional well-being and cognitive performance were evaluated in 31 men with multiple pituitary hormone deficiencies (MPHD) and in 17 men with isolated growth hormone deficiency (IGHD). Assessments included evaluation of somatic and psychological complaints, depression, fatigue, vigor, tension, state and trait anxiety, iconic memory, short-term memory, long-term memory and perceptual-motor skill. The control group consisted of 41 healthy men, matched for age. Growth hormone secretion was more severely impaired in MPHD than in IGHD patients. Despite oral replacement therapy, MPHD patients also had lower serum testosterone levels than IGHD subjects. The MPHD patients were found to have lower vigor scores, higher state anxiety scores, worse perceptual-motor skill and worse memory performance than controls. In contrast, IGHD patients only showed subnormal memory performance. It was concluded, therefore, that the cognitive impairment in both MPHD and IGHD was related to GH deficiency. The subnormal vigor scores in MPHD patients were attributed to the reduced testosterone levels. The worse perceptual-motor skill in MPHD patients might be related specifically to ACTH deficiency. Finally, the higher state anxiety in MPHD was attributed to a low self-esteem, which may be the psychological consequence of the hypogonadal appearance these patients have. We conclude that, from a psychological point of view, MPHD and IGHD adult patients are quite distinct groups.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Affect / physiology
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Cognition Disorders / psychology*
  • Education
  • Female
  • Growth Hormone / deficiency*
  • Humans
  • Intelligence Tests
  • Male
  • Memory / physiology
  • Memory, Short-Term / physiology
  • Mood Disorders / psychology*
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology


  • Growth Hormone