Changes in body composition of human immunodeficiency virus-infected males receiving insulin-like growth factor I and growth hormone

Kenneth J. Ellis, Philip D.K. Lee, James M. Pivarnik, Julie G. Bukar, Neil Gesundheit

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48 Scopus citations


Weight loss is a common, persistent characteristic of long term human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) infection; its full etiology remains unknown. Because treatment with GH has induced nitrogen retention in various catabolic conditions, we designed this study to determine whether a moderate dose of insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) combined with a low GH dose could impede the catabolic response seen in HIV-1 infection. A double blind, placebo- controlled study design was used. Subjects in the GH/IGF-I treatment group (n = 44) and control group (n = 22) continued to receive their routine stable antiretroviral therapy. No patient had a recent history of opportunistic infection, malignancy, or Kaposi's sarcoma and had dietary intakes of at least 25 Cal/kg weight · day at study entry. During the 12-week study period, dietary instruction was given, and subjects were encouraged to maintain an intake of 35 Cal/kg and 1 g protein/kg. All subjects had a body mass index of 19.8 kg/m2 or less at the time of study entry or a weight loss of 10% or more of their premorbid weight and a body mass index below 26.1 kg/m2. The treatment group received 0.34 mg (0.68 mg/day) GH, twice daily, and 5.0 mg (10 mg/day) IGF-I, twice daily. Changes in body composition of total body potassium (TBK), total body nitrogen (TBN), fat-free mass (FFM), and body fat (Fat) were examined at 6 and 12 weeks during the treatment period. TBK, TBN, FFM, and Fat for the treatment and placebo groups were, on the average, below normal at study entry. At 6 weeks, the GH/IGF-I group showed a significant increase in FFM (P < 0.0001), a minimal increase in TBK (P < 0.05), and a substantial decrease in Fat (P < 0.01) compared with baseline values. The loss of body fat continued to be significant (P < 0.01) in the GH/IGF-1 group treatment at 12 weeks, whereas the increase in FFM was minimal (P < 0.05). No significant changes in the mean body composition occurred at 6 or 12 weeks in the placebo group. By 12 weeks, neither TBK (body cell mass) nor TBN (total protein mass) had significantly increased relative to the values at baseline, although the FFM remained elevated. Thus, the combined GH and IGF-1 doses used in this study in adult males with HIV- associated weight loss were ineffective in producing a sustained anabolic response and, in fact, resulted primarily in a significant loss of body fat.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3033-3038
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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