Effects of gender, body weight, and blood glucose dynamics on the growth hormone response to the glucagon stimulation test in patients with pituitary disease.
Identification of adults with GH deficiency (GHD) is challenging because clinical features of adult GHD are not distinctive and because clinical suspicion must be confirmed by biochemical tests. Adults are selected for testing for adult GHD if they have a high pretest probability of GHD, ie, if they have hypothalamic-pituitary disease, if they have received cranial irradiation or central nervous system tumor treatment, or if they survived traumatic brain injury or subarachnoid hemorrhage. Testing should only be carried out if a decision has already been made that if deficiency is found it will be treated. There are many pharmacological GH stimulation tests for the diagnosis of GHD; however, none fulfill the requirements for an ideal test having high discriminatory power; being reproducible, safe, convenient, and economical; and not being dependent on confounding factors such as age, gender, nutritional status, and in particular obesity. In obesity, GH secretion is reduced, GH clearance is enhanced, and stimulated GH secretion is reduced, causing a false-positive result. This functional hyposomatotropism in obesity is fully reversed by weight loss. In conclusion, GH stimulation tests should be avoided in obese subjects with very low pretest probability.