Immune function in growth hormone-deficient children treated with biosynthetic growth hormone

G. L. Spadoni, P. Rossi, W. Ragno, E. Galli, S. Cianfarani, C. Galasso, B. Boscherini

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Conflicting data regarding the immune function in growth hormone (GH)-deficient children or changes in immune parameters during substitutive GH therapy have been reported. We have studied the immune function in 13 patients with GH deficiency before and during treatment with biosynthetic GH (12 IU/m2 body surface/week) after 6 and 12 months of therapy. We found that the absolute number of total T lymphocytes and T-cell subsets (using monoclonal Ab as markers), Natural Killer cell activity (target K562) and response of lymphocytes to polyclonal mitogens (PHA, ConA, PWM) were all in the normal range and remained so after 6 and 12 months of therapy. The absolute number of B lymphocytes was in the normal range before treatment and after 6 months of therapy but dropped significantly after 12 months of treatment. Serum immunoglobulins (IgG, IgA, IgM) did not show a parallel drop and remained normal throughout the whole study. Our GH-deficient patients did not show any undue susceptibility to infections and our data thus seem to confirm that the immune function is basically intact in these children and that it is not suppressed by GH treatment. Although a drop in B lymphocytes was observed, the normal level of immunoglobulins and the normal functional response to PWM seem to demonstrate the maintenance of a normal humoral immune response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-79
Number of pages5
JournalActa Paediatrica Scandinavica
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1991


  • growth hormone deficiency
  • growth hormone treatment
  • immune system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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