Severe gonadal androgen deficiency can have profound catabolic effects in man. Hypogonadal men develop a loss of lean body mass, increased adiposity, and decreased muscle strength despite normal GH and insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) concentrations. We designed these studies to investigate whether GH or IGF-I administration to male subjects with profound hypogonadism can diminish or abolish the catabolic effects of testosterone deficiency. Moreover, we also examined the nature of the interactions among GH, IGF-I, and androgens in specific genes of the im system. A group of 13 healthy subjects (mean age, 22 ± 1 yr) was studied at baseline (D1) and 10 weeks after being made hypogonadal using a GnRH analog (GnRHa; D2). At 6 weeks from baseline they were started on either recombinant human (rh) IGF-I (60 μg/kg, sc, twice daily) or rhGH (12.5 μg/kg, sc, daily) for 4 weeks. On each study day subjects had infusions of L-[13C]leucine; indirect calorimetry; isokinetic dynamometry of the knee extensors; determination of body composition (dual energy x-ray absortiometry) and hormone and growth factor concentrations, as well as percutaneous muscle biopsies. Their data were compared with those of previously studied male subjects who received only GnRHa. Administration of rhIGF-I and rhGH to the hypogonadal men had similar effects on whole body metabolism, with maintenance of protein synthesis rates, fat oxidation rates, and fat-free mass compared with the eugonadal state, preventing the decline observed with hypogonadism alone. This was further amplified by the molecular assessment of important genes in muscle function. During rhIGF-I treatment, im expression of IGF-I declined, and IGF-binding protein-4 increased, similar to the changes during GnRHa alone. However, rhGH administration was associated with a marked increase in IGF-I and androgen receptor messenger ribonucleic acid concentrations in skeletal muscle with a reciprocal decline in IGF-binding protein-4 expression in the hypogonadal men. The gene expression for myostatin did not change. These effects were accompanied by a much greater increase in plasma IGF-I concentrations after rhIGF-I (225 ± 32 vs. 768 ± 117 μg/L) compared with the concentrations achieved during rhGH (217 ± 20 vs. 450 ± 19 μg/L). We conclude that 1) rhGH and rhIGF-I both may be beneficial in preserving lean body mass and sustaining rates of protein synthesis during states of severe androgen deficiency in man; 2) GH may affect the im IGF system via an a paracrine, local production of IGF-I; 3) androgens may be necessary for the full anabolic effect of GH/IGF-I in man. These hormones, particularly GH, may play a role in the treatment of hypogonadal men rendered hypogonadal pharmacologically or those unable to take full testosterone replacement. The latter requires further study.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Biochemistry, medical