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Changes in growth hormone, insulin, insulinlike growth factors (IGFs), & IGF-binding protein-1 in CFS

  [ 28 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ]
By Allain T, Bearn J, Coskeran P, Jones J, Checkley A, Butler J, Wessely S, Miell J • • March 1, 1997

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is characterized by severe physical
and mental fatigue of central origin. Similar clinical
features may occur in disorders of the hypothalamopituitary
axis. The aim of the study was to determine whether patients
with CFS have abnormalities of the growth hormone/insulinlike
growth factor (GH-IGF) axis basally or following hypothalamic
stimulation with insulin-induced hypoglycemia. We compared
levels of GH, IGF-I, IGF-II, IGF-binding protein-1 (IGFBP-1),
insulin, and C-peptide in nondepressed CFS patients and
normal controls. We found attenuated basal levels of IGF-I
(214 +/- 17 vs. 263.4 +/- 13.4 micrograms/L, p = .036) and
IGF-II (420 +/- 19.8 vs. 536 +/- 24.3 micrograms/L, p = .02)
in CFS patients and a reduced GH response to hypoglycemia
(peak GH; 41.9 +/- 11.5 vs. 106.0 +/- 25.6 mU/L, p = .017).
Insulin levels were higher (7.6 +/- 1.0 vs. 4.3 +/- 0.8 mU/L,
p = .02) and IGFBP-1 levels were lower (19.7 +/- 4.6 vs. 43.2
+/- 2.7 mg/L, p = .004) in CFS patients compared with
controls. This study provides preliminary data abnormalities
of the GH-IGF axis in CFS. It is not apparent whether these
changes are components of a primary pathological process or
are acquired secondary to behavioral aspects of CFS such as
reduced physical activity.

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