Growth hormone treatment improves symptoms of metabolic disorder in postmenopausal women

03/11/05

Researchers in Sweden have discovered that growth hormone (GH) treatment may result in the reduction of multiple metabolic disorders associated with abdominal obesity in postmenopausal women. Published in today in the March issue of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, these findings demonstrate the important role growth hormone treatment may play in reducing serious metabolic conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease.

Typically, GH is known for its importance in the growth of a child, but it also has powerful metabolic effects in adults. A previous trial of GH treatment in men with abdominal obesity demonstrated reduction in abdominal fat mass and beneficial effects on insulin sensitivity and lipids. Many postmenopausal women experience a natural increase in obesity, particularly an increase of intra-abdominal fat, which refers to fat that is stored in and around the internal organs.

Dr. Gudmundur Johannsson and his research team at the Sahlgrenska University Hospital in Sweden investigated the effect of GH treatment for one year on insulin sensitivity in postmenopausal women with abdominal adiposity. They also studied the effects of the hormone on abdominal fat, hepatic fat content and size of the thigh muscle area.

The team discovered that the GH treatment in postmenopausal women significantly reduced their intra-abdominal fat, increased thigh muscle area, reduced low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol concentration, and improved insulin sensitivity. The placebo group did not experience these positive results.

"Previous research has shown that obesity is linked to metabolic syndrome, which has several known risk factors including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, increased levels of fasting glucose and an increase in waist circumference," explains Dr. Johansson. "The results of our study suggest that growth hormone treatment has a favorable effect on multiple metabolic disorders associated with abdominal obesity in postmenopausal women."

This information may offer a treatment option for doctors who treat postmenopausal women and may reduce the metabolic consequences associated with intra-abdominal fat accumulation.

Source: Eurekalert & others

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