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A Journal on Endocrine System Diseases

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Minerva Endocrinologica 2012 December;37(4):379-89

language: English

Update on early cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors in children and adolescents affected with growth hormone deficiency

Capalbo D. 1, Esposito A. 1, Di Mase R. 1, Barbieri F. 1, Parenti G. 1, Vajro P. 2, Pignata C. 1, Salerno M. 1

1 Department of Pediatrics, Federico II University, Naples, Italy;
2 Department of Pediatrics, University of Salerno, Salerno, Italy


Growth hormone (GH), in addition to promote linear growth during childhood, exerts a key role in several processes of substrate metabolism. Adults with untreated GH deficiency and adolescents who discontinued GH therapy at completion of growth, exhibit a cluster of cardiovascular risk factors such as impaired cardiac performance, alteration in body proportion with increased visceral fat, dyslipidemia and hypertension, that could place them at higher risk of cardiovascular morbidity. Although studies on adolescents and children are still scarce, there is evidence that early markers of cardiovascular disease can be already detected in untreated children with GH deficiency and that, as in adults, GH replacement therapy exerts a beneficial role on metabolic alterations. Untreated GH deficiency in childhood and adolescence seems to be associated with reduced cardiac size and impaired cardiac function, dyslipidemia, abnormalities in body composition and in peripheral inflammatory markers. GH replacement therapy exerts a beneficial effects on most of these alterations. Aim of this review is to summarize the current findings on the effects of GH deficiency and GH treatment on early cardiovascular risk factors in children and adolescents.

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