The complex relationship between obesity and the somatropic axis: The long and winding road

Silvia Savastano, Carolina Di Somma, Luigi Barrea, Annamaria Colao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Despite the considerable body of evidence pointing to a possible relationship between the state of the adipose tissue depots and regulation of the somatotropic axis, to date the relationship between obesity and low growth hormone (GH) status remains incompletely understood. The low GH status in obesity is mainly considered as a functional condition, largely reversible after a sustained weight loss. Moreover, due to the effects of the adiposity on the regulation of the somatotropic axis, the application of GH stimulation tests in obesity may also lead to an incorrect diagnosis of GH deficieny (GHD). On the other hand, similar to patients with GHD unrelated to obesity, the reduced GH response to stimulation testing in obese individuals is associated with increased prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors and detrimental alterations of body composition, which contribute to worsening their cardio-metabolic risk profile. In addition, the reduced GH secretion may result in reduced serum insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-1 levels, and the concordance of low peak GH and low IGF-1 identifies a subset of obese individuals with high cardiovascular risk. Furthermore, after weight loss, the normalization of the GH response and IGF-1 levels may or may not occur, and in patients undergoing bariatric surgery the persistence of a low GH status may affect the post-operative outcomes. In this review, we will provide an overview on some clinically relevant aspects of the relationship between obesity axis and the somatotropic axis in the light of the recently published research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-226
Number of pages6
JournalGrowth Hormone and IGF Research
Volume24
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2014

Keywords

  • Body composition
  • Cardio-metabolic risk
  • Obesity and GH/IGF-1 axis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Medicine(all)

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