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October 1979

Altered Control of Growth Hormone Secretion in Patients With Cirrhosis of the Liver

Author Affiliations

From the Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Padua, Italy. Dr Muggeo is now with the National Institute of Arthritis, Metabolism, and Digestive Diseases, Bethesda, Md.

Arch Intern Med. 1979;139(10):1157-1160. doi:10.1001/archinte.1979.03630470065020

Ten male patients with cirrhosis of the liver (three with portacaval anastomosis [PCA]) and eight sex- and age-matched controls underwent an arginine infusion test followed by an intravenous glucose tolerance test. Plasma glucose and growth hormone (GH) levels were measured during a period of three hours. In the normal subjects, the peak GH response to arginine occurred 60 minutes after the start of the infusion and was followed by a progressive decline in GH concentration; dextrose injection resulted in a further rapid fall in GH concentration. In cirrhotic patients, both fasting and postarginine GH concentrations were significantly higher than in controls; in addition, the dextrose injection, after causing a transitory drop in plasma GH levels, resulted in a marked increase in plasma GH concentration. In the patients with PCA, the plasma GH increase after arginine and after dextrose was more marked. In these cirrhotic patients, the plasma GH levels correlated directly with the magnitude of the portal hypertension and inversely with the serum albumin concentration, suggesting that the abnormality of GH secretion was a reflection of the derangement in liver function.

(Arch Intern Med 139:1157-1160, 1979)