Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is associated with neuroendocrine and immunologic dysfunction leading to rheumatoid cachexia. Although excess proinflammatory cytokines can decrease somatotropic axis activity, little is known about the effects of RA on growth hormone/insulin-like growth factor-1 (GH/IGF-I) axis function. We tested the hypothesis that patients with active RA exhibit decreased GH/IGF-I axis activity. To do so, we conducted a pilot case-control study at a clinical research center in 7 pre- and perimenopausal women with active RA and 10 age- and body mass index-matched healthy women. Participants underwent blood sampling every 20 minutes for 24 hours (8 a.m. to 8 a.m.), and sera were assayed for GH, cortisol, and dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). Sera obtained after overnight fasting were assayed for IGF-I, IGF-binding protein (IGFBP)-1, IGFBP-3, C-reactive protein (CRP), interleukin-6 (IL-6), glucose, insulin, and lipids. Body composition and bone mineral density were evaluated by DEXA (dual emission x-ray absorptiometry) scans. In patients with RA, mean disease duration was 7.6 ± 6.8 years, and erythrocyte sedimentation rate, CRP, and IL-6 were elevated. GH half-life was shorter than in control subjects (p = 0.0037), with no other significant group differences in GH deconvolution parameters or approximate entropy scores. IGF-I (p = 0.05) and IGFBP-3 (p = 0.058) were lower, whereas IGFBP-1 tended to be higher (p = 0.066), in patients with RA, with nonsignificantly increased 24-hour total GH production rates. There were no significant group differences in cortisol or DHEA secretion. Lean body mass was lower in patients with RA (p = 0.019), particularly in the legs (p = 0.01). Women with active RA exhibit a trend toward GH insensitivity and relatively diminished diurnal cortisol and DHEA secretion for their state of inflammation. Whether these changes contribute to rheumatoid cachexia remains to be determined.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy