Low-dose growth hormone treatment reduced abdominal fat deposits and improved blood pressure and triglyceride levels in a group of patients with HIV lipodystrophy, a condition involving the redistribution of fat and other metabolic changes in patients receiving combination drug therapy for HIV infection. However, growth hormone treatment appeared to increase blood glucose levels, particularly in those already exhibiting glucose intolerance. The study from researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) appears in the Aug.. 6 Journal of the American Medical Association, a special issue on HIV/AIDS.
“This study tells us that a rationally dosed growth hormone regimen does a pretty good job of improving several risk factors for cardiovascular disease in patients who develop this syndrome while taking antiretroviral drugs. But growth hormone therapy may be limited by its effects on glucose levels,” says Steven Grinspoon, MD, of the MGH Neuroendocrine Unit and Program in Nutritional Metabolism, the report’s senior author.
A significant number of HIV-infected individuals receiving antiviral therapy develop lipodystrophy – symptoms of which include excess fat deposits in the abdomen, a loss of subcutaneous fat in the face and extremities, increases in cholesterol and other blood lipids, and insulin resistance. Previous research has shown that growth hormone secretion is reduced in substantial number of those with the syndrome. High doses of growth hormone did reduce lipodystrophy symptoms in earlier studies, but they also had significant, negative side effects.
Release date: August 3, 2008
Source: Massachusetts General Hospital