Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease is Associated with Increased GHBP and Reduced GH/IGF-I Levels

Alessandra Fusco, Luca Miele, A D'Uonnolo, Alessandra Forgione, Laura Riccardi, Consuelo Cefalo, Angelina Barini, Antonio Bianchi, Antonella Giampietro, V Cimino, Raffaele Landolfi, Alessandro Grieco, Laura De Marinis Grasso

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Introduction:  Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has been described in adult GH deficiency syndrome. Furthermore, chronic liver disease can be associated with significant changes in levels of IGF-I, GH-binding protein (GHBP), IGF-binding proteins (IGFBPs) and acid-labile subunit (ALS). However, the effect of liver steatosis on the GHBP production has not been investigated yet. Aim of the study:  to explore if GH secretion and/or levels of IGF-I, IGFBP-3, ALS and GHBP could be altered in obese patients in relation to the presence of liver steatosis. Materials and methods:  A total of 115 obese patients (BMI> 30) were enrolled in the protocol (65 patients with liver steatosis and 50 age- and BMI-matched controls). In all patients the following parameters were studied: serum levels of glucose, insulin, the HOMA index, IGF-I, GHBP, IGFBP-3, ALS and GH after GHRH and arginine stimulation test. Results:  As expected, subjects with NAFLD had blood glucose, insulin, HOMA-R significantly higher than controls, indicating a more severe insulin-resistance state in NAFLD. Furthermore, patients with NAFLD had higher levels of GHBP and IGFBP-3 and lower GH peak and IGF-I levels as compared to controls. No difference was found in ALS levels between the groups. In a multivariate analysis, GHBP was positively associated with hepatic steatosis while IGF-1 was negatively associated with hepatic steatosis. Conclusions:  This study demonstrates that in NAFLD patients the GHBP levels are increased and that the GH/IGF-I axis is significantly altered probably leading to reduced IGF-I bioavailability at tissue level.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)N/A-N/A
JournalClinical Endocrinology
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • GH
  • GHBP
  • IGFBP-3
  • Obesity


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