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Adults with growth hormone deficiency have abnormal body composition but normal energy metabolism


We compared body composition and energy metabolism in a cross-sectional study involving 21 GH-deficient (GHD) and 29 normal adults. Fifteen subjects from each group were pair-matched for age, sex, height, and weight. Comparison of body composition by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry in the 15 pairs showed that GHD subjects had a significantly greater fat mass (23.9 +/- 1.8 vs. 19.8 +/- 2.6 kg; P = 0.02), lower bone mineral content (2.6 +/- 0.1 vs. 2.9 +/- 0.1 kg; P = 0.06), and lower fat-free soft tissue mass (FFSTM; 45.8 +/- 2.5 vs. 48.9 +/- 2.6 kg; P = 0.02). To determine which subcompartment changes were responsible for the reduced FFSTM in GH deficiency, extracellular water (ECW) was measured by 24Na dilution in 11 of the subject pairs, and body cell mass (BCM) was derived by subtracting ECW from FFSTM. The GHD subjects had lower ECW (19.4 +/- 1.0 vs. 21.0 +/- 1.0 kg; P = 0.05) and BCM (26.6 +/- 1.9 vs. 28.6 +/- 2.1 kg; P = 0.08) than their normal counterparts, with the difference approaching statistical significance. When the relationship between ECW and FFSTM was compared in the larger group of 18 GHD and 27 normal subjects, no statistically significant difference was found between the 2 regression lines, indicating that ECW and BCM were proportionately reduced in GH deficiency. Energy expenditure and fuel utilization before and after a standardized mixed meal were measured by indirect calorimetry in 12 matched pairs of GHD and normal subjects. Comparison of energy expenditure and fuel utilization showed no significant difference in fasting or postprandial energy expenditure, or carbohydrate or fat oxidation rates between the two groups. We conclude that GHD adults have an increased FM, a reduced FFSTM due to a proportionate reduction in ECW and BCM, and no detectable disturbance in energy metabolism.

Type Journal
ISBN 0021-972X (Print)
Authors Hoffman, D. M.;O'Sullivan, A. J.;Freund, J.;Ho, K. K. :
Published Date 1995-01-01
Published Volume 80
Published Issue 1
Published Pages 72-7
Status Published in-print
URL link to publisher's version