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Journal of Endocrinological Investigation

, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 329–333 | Cite as

Impairment of GH secretion in adults with primary empty sella

  • M. Gasperi
  • G. Aimaretti
  • E. Cecconi
  • A. Colao
  • C. Di Somma
  • S. Cannavò
  • C. Baffoni
  • M. Cosottini
  • L. Curtò
  • F. Trimarchi
  • G. Lombardi
  • L. Grasso
  • E. Ghigo
  • E. Martino
Original Article

Abstract

Primary empty sella (PES) is generally not associated with overt endocrine abnormalities, although mild hyperprolactinemia and, in children, deficient GH secretion have been reported. The aim of this multi-center collaborative study was to evaluate basal and stimulated GH secretion in a large series of adult PES patients. The study group consisted of 51 patients [41 women and 10 men, age range: 20–78 yr; (mean±SD) 47±11 yr]; results were compared with those in normal subjects (Ns) (Ns: no.=110, 55 women, age: 20–50 yr, 37±14 yr), and in hypopituitaric patients (HYP) with GH deficiency (HYP: no.=44, 17 women, age: 20–72, 49±16 yr). Baseline IGF-I levels and GH responses to insulin-induced hypoglycemia (insulin tolerance test, ITT) and/or GHRH+arginine (ARG) stimulation tests were evaluated. PES patients were also subdivided according to BMI in lean (BMI <28 kg/m2 no.=22) or obese (BMI >28 kg/m2 no.=29). PES patients had serum total IGF-I concentrations (mean±SE: 142.2±9.6 ng/ml) higher than HYP patients (77.4±6.4 ng/ml, p<0.001), but lower than Ns (213.3±17.2 ng/ml, p<0.005), with no differences between lean and obese PES subjects. The increase in serum GH concentrations following ITT and/or GHRH+ARG stimulation tests, although higher than that observed in HYP patients, was markedly reduced with respect to Ns. No difference was observed in the GH response to provocative tests between lean and obese PES patients. When individual GH responses to ITT or GHRH+ARG were taken into account, a large proportion of PES patients (52% after ITT, 61% after GHRH+ARG) showed a GH peak increase below the 1st centile of normal limits. Serum IGF-I levels in PES patients with blunted GH responses to provocative tests were significantly (p<0.001) lower in PES patients with normal GH responses, and a positive correlation was observed between IGF-I levels and serum GH peak concentrations after GHRH+ARG. In conclusion, the results of the present study provide evidence that adult PES patients often have an impairment of GH secretion, as indicated by the blunted GH response to ITT and GHRH+ARG provocative tests, and by the reduction in serum IGF-I levels. These changes are independent of body mass.

Key-words

Empty sella GH IGF-I GHRH+arginine ITT adult GH deficiency obesity 

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Copyright information

© Italian Society of Endocrinology (SIE) 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Gasperi
    • 1
  • G. Aimaretti
    • 3
  • E. Cecconi
    • 1
  • A. Colao
    • 4
  • C. Di Somma
    • 4
  • S. Cannavò
    • 5
  • C. Baffoni
    • 3
  • M. Cosottini
    • 2
  • L. Curtò
    • 5
  • F. Trimarchi
    • 5
  • G. Lombardi
    • 4
  • L. Grasso
    • 1
  • E. Ghigo
    • 3
  • E. Martino
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EndocrinologyUniversity of PisaPisaItaly
  2. 2.Department of OncologyUniversity of PisaPisaItaly
  3. 3.Division of Endocrinology, Department of Internal MedicineUniversity of TurinTurinItaly
  4. 4.Department of Molecular and Clinical Endocrinology and Oncology“Federico II” University of NaplesNaplesItaly
  5. 5.Division of EndocrinologyUniversity of MessinaMessinaItaly

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