Email updates

Keep up to date with the latest news and content from BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders and BioMed Central.

Open Access Research article

Age-related changes in Serum Growth Hormone, Insulin-like Growth Factor-1 and Somatostatin in System Lupus Erythematosus

Charles W Denko1 and Charles J Malemud2*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Medicine/Division of Rheumatic Diseases, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, OH 44106-5076 USA

2 Department of Medicine/Division of Rheumatic Diseases, and Department of Anatomy, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland, Ohio, 44106-5076 USA

For all author emails, please log on.

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2004, 5:37  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-5-37

Published: 20 October 2004

Abstract

Background

Systemic lupus erythematosus is an age- and gender-associated autoimmune disorder. Previous studies suggested that defects in the hypothalamic/pituitary axis contributed to systemic lupus erythematosus disease progression which could also involve growth hormone, insulin-like growth factor-1 and somatostatin function. This study was designed to compare basal serum growth hormone, insulin-like growth factor-1 and somatostatin levels in female systemic lupus erythematosus patients to a group of normal female subjects.

Methods

Basal serum growth hormone, insulin-like growth factor-1 and somatostatin levels were measured by standard radioimmunoassay.

Results

Serum growth hormone levels failed to correlate with age (r2 = 3.03) in the entire group of normal subjects (i.e. 20 – 80 years). In contrast, serum insulin-like growth factor-1 levels were inversely correlated with age (adjusted r2 = 0.092). Of note, serum growth hormone was positively correlated with age (adjusted r2 = 0.269) in the 20 – 46 year range which overlapped with the age range of patients in the systemic lupus erythematosus group. In that regard, serum growth hormone levels were not significantly higher compared to either the entire group of normal subjects (20 – 80 yrs) or to normal subjects age-matched to the systemic lupus erythematosus patients. Serum insulin-like growth factor-1 levels were significantly elevated (p < 0.001) in systemic lupus erythematosus patients, but only when compared to the entire group of normal subjects. Serum somatostatin levels differed from normal subjects only in older (i.e. >55 yrs) systemic lupus erythematosus patients.

Conclusions

These results indicated that systemic lupus erythematosus was not characterized by a modulation of the growth hormone/insulin-like growth factor-1 paracrine axis when serum samples from systemic lupus erythematosus patients were compared to age- matched normal female subjects. These results in systemic lupus erythematosus differ from those previously reported in other musculoskeletal disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis and hypermobility syndrome where significantly higher serum growth hormone levels were found. Somatostatin levels in elderly systemic lupus erythematosus patients may provide a clinical marker of disease activity in these patients.