Clonidine has been proposed to differentiate multiple system atrophy (MSA) from idiopathic Parkinson's disease (IPD), as it does not increase growth hormone (GH) release in MSA. We studied GH release in response to clonidine in 7 IPD patients, 6 MSA patients, 4 patients affected by idiopathic late-onset cerebellar ataxia (ILOCA) and 8 healthy controls. In addition, we investigated the effects of GH releasing hormone plus arginine (GHRH-Arg) on GH release in the same patients. Both clonidine and GHRH-Arg raised serum GH levels in all groups examined. Clonidine failed to differentiate MSA from IPD and ILOCA. GHRH-Arg showed a lower increase of serum GH in MSA patients than in other groups, even if such difference was not statistically significant. We suggest that stimulation of GH release with GHRH-Arg rather than clonidine could differentiate MSA from IPD and ILOCA, but this hypothesis would need to be confirmed by further investigations.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology