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Decreased plasma and extracellular volume in growth hormone deficient adults and the acute and prolonged effects of GH administration: a controlled experimental study

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OBJECTIVE There are few data on the endocrine mechanisms underlying the body fluid changes in GH deficiency and their subsequent alteration following GH replacement. We have therefore investigated the time effects of GH on body fluid distribution and fluid regulating hormones in GH deficient adults.

DESIGN The patients underwent in random order four study periods: (1) saline, a 42-hour infusion following 3 weeks without GH, (2) acute GH, a 42-hour GH infusion following 3 weeks without GH, (3) 3 days GH, a 42-hour GH infusion preceded by 3 weeks without GH and 3 days pretreatment with subcutaneous GH injections, (4) 3 weeks GH, a 42-hour GH infusion after at least 3 weeks GH therapy.

SUBJECTS Seven GH deficient adult males and 8 healthy control subjects.

MEASUREMENTS During each infusion period 24-hour blood pressure was recorded, bioimpedance was repeatedly measured and blood samples were obtained every 6 hours. After 41 hours extracellular and plasma volumes were determined isotopically. Extracellular volume, plasma volume and bioimpedance were measured in the control group.

RESULTS GH increased extracellular volume (saline 16.45 ± 0.79 vs acute GH 16.83 ± 0.87; vs 3 days GH 17.58 ± 0.71; vs 3 weeks GH 17.92 ±0.88 I, P = 0.01). After 3 weeks of GH, extracellular volumes in the patients and in the control group were identical (control 17.94 ± 0.32). Plasma volume was increased only after 3 weeks GH treatment (saline 2.93 ± 0.16 vs acute GH 3.04 ±0.22; vs 3 days GH 3.06 ± 0.07; vs 3 weeks GH 3.37±0.18 l, P = 0.03), and was decreased compared to the control group (control 3.56 ± 0.03 l, P<0.01). Bioimpedance decreased significantly in all treatment periods and was significantly increased compared to the control group. Plasma renin increased during GH administration (saline 16.2 ±1.9 vs acute 19.0 ± 1.9; vs 3 days GH 30.8 ± 3.0; vs 3 weeks GH 27.0 ± 3.0 mU/l, P = 0.03), whereas aldosterone and atrial natriuretic factor (ANF) levels remained unaffected by GH. GH caused an increase in systolic blood pressure (BP) and heart rate, whereas diastolic BP remained unaffected.

CONCLUSIONS The present data show that GH deficiency is associated with decreased plasma volume and extracellular volume. GH exposure acutely increases extracellular volume, whereas substitution for a longer time was required to normalize both extracellular and plasma volumes. Renin seems to be involved in these fluid volume regulating effects of GH.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Medical Department M, Aarhus Kommunehospital, DK 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark 2: Department of Clinical Physiology, Kobenhavns Amtssygehus Glostrup, DK 2600 Glostrup, Denmark

Publication date: May 1, 1996

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