The GH/IGF-I axis has essential roles in regulating bone and vascular status. The age-related decrease in GH secretion ("somatopause") may contribute to osteoporosis and atherosclerosis, commonly observed in the elderly. Adult-onset GH deficiency (GHD) has been reported to be associated with reduced bone mineral density (BMD), increased risk of fractures, and premature atherosclerosis. We have shown the young adult individuals with isolated GHD (IGHD) due to a homozygous for the c.57+1G>A GHRH receptor gene mutation have normal volumetric BMD (vBMD), and not develop premature atherosclerosis, despite adverse risk factor profile. However, the bone and vascular impact of lifetime GHD on the aging process remains unknown. We studied a group of ten older IGHD subjects (≥60 years) homozygous for the mutation, comparing them with 20 age- and gender-matched controls (CO). Areal BMD was measured, and vBMD was calculated at the lumbar spine and total hip. Vertebral fractures and abdominal aortic calcifications (expressed as calcium score) were also assessed. Areal BMD was lower in IGHD, but vBMD was similar in the two groups. The percent of fractured individuals was similar, but the mean number of fractures per individual was lower in IGHD than CO. Calcium score was similar in the two groups. A positive correlation was found between calcium score and number of fractures. Untreated lifetime IGHD has beneficial consequences on bone status and does not have a deleterious effect on abdominal aorta calcification.
- Isolated GH deficiency
- Vascular calcification
- Vertebral fractures
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism