GH deficiency (GHD) in adult patients is a complex condition, mainly due to organic lesion of hypothalamic-pituitary region and often associated with multiple pituitary hormone deficiencies (MPHD). The relationships between the GH/IGF-I system and other hypothalamic-pituitary axes are complicated and not yet fully clarified. Many reports have shown a bidirectional interplay both at a central and at a peripheral level. Signs and symptoms of other pituitary deficiencies often overlap and confuse with those due to GH deficiency. Furthermore, a condition of untreated GHD may mask concomitant pituitary deficiencies, mainly central hypothyroidism and hypoadrenalism. In this setting, the diagnosis could be delayed and possible only after recombinant human Growth Hormone (rhGH) replacement. Since inappropriate replacement of other pituitary hormones may exacerbate many manifestations of GHD, a correct diagnosis is crucial. This paper will focus on the main studies aimed to clarify the effects of GHD and rhGH replacement on other pituitary axes. Elucidating the possible contexts in which GHD may develop and examining the proposed mechanisms at the basis of interactions between the GH/IGF-I system and other axes, we will focus on the importance of a correct diagnosis to avoid possible pitfalls.
- central hypoadrenalism
- central hypothyroidism
- growth hormone deficiency
- hypogonadotropic hypogonadism
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism