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Abstract: Role of the Growth Hormone/Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 Paracrine Axis in Rheumatic Diseases

  [ 237 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • August 9, 2005

Semin Arthritis Rheum. 2005 Aug;35(1):24-34. Denko CW, Malemud CJ. Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio.

OBJECTIVES: Hypothalamic-pituitary axis abnormalities have been associated with systemic disturbances in several rheumatic diseases. Longitudinal analysis of erythrocyte, serum, urinary and synovial fluid growth hormone (GH), insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1), and somatostatin levels could provide important surrogate measures of disease activity in rheumatic diseases.

METHODS: The authors reviewed the population and longitudinal studies literature on GH, IGF-1, and somatostatin levels in rheumatic disorders using the PubMed and Medlines databases from the National Library of Medicine. In addition to the literature search, primary data were analyzed for basal somatostatin levels in patients with hand, knee, and spine osteoarthritis (OA) as well as primary and secondary hip OA.

RESULTS: A review of the literature supports the view that hypothalamic-pituitary axis dysfunction accompanies clinical symptoms in many rheumatic diseases. In studies from our laboratory, serum GH levels were elevated in patients with OA, rheumatoid arthritis (RA), fibromyalgia, and diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis but not in patients with gout, pseudogout, or systemic lupus erythematosus. In OA and RA, synovial fluid GH levels exceeded serum GH levels. However, the literature remains controversial regarding the significance of changes in IGF-1 levels in rheumatic disorders. Many studies support an inverse relationship between age and IGF-1. Elevated serum GH levels in various rheumatic diseases were not coupled to changes in serum IGF-1 in diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis, RA, and fibromyalgia. In particular, serum IGF-1 levels in OA were shown to be lower or no different compared with age-matched normal subjects. Further, in OA, impaired articular chondrocyte response to IGF-1 was attributed, in part, to low synovial fluid IGF-1 that further compromised IGF-1 chondrocyte responses as a result of increased levels of synovial fluid IGF-1 binding proteins. Of note, serum somatostatin levels and "specific" somatostatin receptor levels were often lower in RA and systemic lupus erythematosus, but basal serum somatostatin levels were generally not altered in OA.

CONCLUSIONS: The results of these analyses support the view that some rheumatic diseases such as OA and diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis, heretofore considered to be purely focal and degenerative, could be reclassified as systemic metabolic disturbances. We propose that serum GH, IGF-1, and somatostatin levels be monitored on a longitudinal basis during the course of medical therapy of rheumatic diseases to determine the extent to which changes in clinical symptoms (exemplified by reduced pain and inflammation and improved range of joint motion) are accompanied by changes in the basal concentration of these hypothalamic/pituitary-related hormones. PMID: 16084221 [PubMed - in process]

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