Anabolic growth hormone action improves submaximal measures of physical performance in patients with HIV-associated wasting.

Research paper by John G JG Esposito, Scott G SG Thomas, Lori L Kingdon, Shereen S Ezzat

Indexed on: 12 May '05Published on: 12 May '05Published in: American journal of physiology. Endocrinology and metabolism


Growth hormone (GH) treatment reverses the muscle loss allegedly responsible for diminished aerobic capacity and increased fatigue in patients with HIV-associated wasting. This study examined whether submaximal measures of physical performance can be used as objective measures of the functional impact of GH treatment-induced anabolism. We randomized 27 HIV-positive men [mean (SD) age, 43.9 (7.2) yr; body mass, 71.9 (10.4) kg; BMI, 23.1 (2.8) kg/m2] with unintentional weight loss despite antiretroviral therapy to receive GH (6 mg) or placebo in a double-blinded, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial with a 3-mo washout. Lean body mass (LBM), maximum oxygen uptake (Vo2 peak), ventilatory threshold (VeT), 6-min walk test (6MWT) distance and work, profile of mood states (POMS) fatigue and vigor scores, and Nottingham health profile (NHP) energy and physical mobility scores were measured. LBM significantly increased after 3 mo of GH treatment vs. placebo (means +/- SE, 3.7 +/- 0.6 vs. 0.3 +/- 0.4 kg; P < 0.001). VeT significantly improved (17.6 +/- 3.7 vs. -5.9 +/- 2.5%; P < 0.001), but Vo2 peak did not change significantly. 6MWT distance improved (24.9 +/- 9.7 vs. 19.9 +/- 11.6 m; P > 0.05) and 6MWT work increased significantly more after 3 mo of GH treatment (33.3 +/- 8.8 vs. 16.5 +/- 7.5 kJ; P < 0.05). POMS scores of fatigue and vigor and the NHP score of energy improved, yet the changes were not statistically significant. GH treatment improved VeT linearly to the increase in LBM (r =0.43, P = 0.037) and 6MWT work (r = 0.51, P = 0.008), and the increase in 6MWT work correlated with increase in LBM (r = 0.45, P = 0.024). Improvement in 6MWT work above the median (27.3 kJ) showed a decrease in fatigue (r = -0.62, P = 0.024). We concluded that GH treatment-induced LBM gains in HIV-associated wasting were functionally relevant, as determined by effort-independent submaximal measures of cardiopulmonary exercise testing.