Purpose: The use of recombinant human growth hormone (rhGH) is a common habit among athletes. While the effects of rhGH administration have been described with contrasting results in males, no data exist in females to date. The aim of the present study was to evaluate the effects of rhGH administration on TSH, FT4 and FT3 levels and the time requested to return to baseline values after treatment withdrawal. Methods: Twenty-one healthy trained male and female athletes were treated with 0.03 mg rhGH/kg body mass 6 days/week for 3 weeks. We collected blood samples immediately before the first daily rhGH administration, at 3, 4, 8, 15 and 21 days of treatment and at 3 and 9 days after rhGH withdrawal. Results: In males, rhGH administration induced a significant (p < 0.01) early and stable TSH decrease and IGF-I increase, and a delayed FT4 reduction without FT3 modification, suggesting a central regulatory mechanism. In females, rhGH administration induced a significant (p < 0.01) early and transient TSH decrease and IGF-I increase, and a transient reduction in FT4 without any changes in FT3 concentrations. rhGH withdrawal was associated with a prompt normalization of TSH and FT4 levels in males, while in females the effects of rhGH treatment had already disappeared during the last period of treatment. Conclusion: We suggest that rhGH inhibits TSH at central level both in males and females. The pattern of normalization was different in the two genders probably due to gonadal steroids modulation on GH-IGF-I axis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism