Effects of systemic growth hormone (GH) administration on regional adipose tissue in children with non-GH-deficient short stature
Chronic administration of exogenous GH to GH-deficient children is associated with a selective depletion of the abdominal sc fat depot and a resultant relative increase in gluteal, relative to abdominal, adipocyte lipid content. In GH-deficient children, the degree of this change in relative lipid content per adipocyte appears to be correlated with decreases in sensitivity of abdominal subcutaneous fat to the antilipolytic action of insulin. We studied abdominal and gluteal sc adipose tissue from 10 children with short stature (height less than 5% ile, growth velocity less than 5 cm/yr, bone age delayed at least 2 yr), who were not GH deficient based upon provocative testing (non-GH-deficient short stature) 1) before beginning and 2) after 3 months of therapy with exogenous GH (Humatrope, 0.1 mg/kg sc 3 times/week). In abdominal and gluteal adipocytes, we measured lipid content, rates of reesterification of fatty acids released by ongoing lipolysis and rates of in vitro lipolysis and lipogenesis in response to insulin, adenosine, and various adrenoreceptor agonists. These biochemical measures were correlated with measures of statural growth and adipose tissue distribution in each subject. We found that GH therapy was associated with a significant reduction in abdominal adipocyte size (0.48 microgram +/- 0.08 lipid per cell prior to therapy vs. 0.43 microgram +/- 0.08 lipid per cell after therapy, P less than 0.05) and a significant increase in responsiveness of gluteal sc adipose tissue to the lipogenic actions of insulin. The significant correlations of changes in abdominal adipocyte volume with changes in regional adipose tissue insulin sensitivity that were noted in GH-deficient children were not noted in this subject population, perhaps due to effects of endogenous GH on pretreatment insulin responsiveness of adipose tissue. These data reaffirm that GH has site-specific effects on regional adipose tissue depots.