Short stature, decreased muscle mass (hypotonia), increased body fat, decreased bone mineral density and other somatic abnormalities are major causes of morbidity and social limitation in individuals with Prader-Willi syndrome. Detailed studies indicate that two major endocrine pathologies may account for many of these somatic abnormalities. A true deficiency of the growth hormone (GH)-insulin-like growth factor axis is a principal cause of the short stature and is probably a major contributor to the decreased muscle mass and osteopenia. Hypogonadotropic hypogonadism is the probable primary cause of osteopenia and osteoporosis. No other endocrine abnormalities have been specifically identified in Prader-Willi syndrome, although there may be increased risks of premature adrenarche and type 2 diabetes mellitus, both secondary to obesity. GH replacement therapy is effective in normalizing linear growth and also has positive effects on muscle mass and function, and on bone mineralization. Judicious gonadal steroid replacement may be effective in treating the osteopenia and preventing osteoporosis. GH and gonadal steroid replacement therapy should be considered for all patients with Prader-Willi syndrome. (C) 2000 Harcourt Publishers Ltd.
- Growth hormone
- Growth hormone deficiency
- Prader-Willi syndrome
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism