Growth hormone secretion in primary adrenal Cushing's syndrome is disorderly and inversely correlated with body mass index

Maarten O. Van Aken, Alberto M. Pereira, Marijke Frölich, Johannes A. Romijn, Hanno Pijl, Johannes D. Veldhuis, Ferdinand Roelfsema

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


To evaluate the impact on the somatotropic axis of endogenous cortisol excess in the absence of primary pituitary disease, we investigated spontaneous 24-h growth hormone (GH) secretion in 12 adult patients with ACTH-independent hypercortisolism. Plasma GH concentration profiles (10-min samples) were analyzed by deconvolution to reconstruct secretion and approximate entropy to quantitate orderliness of the release process. Comparisons were made with a body mass index (BMI)-, age-, and gender-matched control group and an age- and gender-matched lean control group. GH secretion rates did not differ from BMI-matched controls but were twofold lower compared with lean subjects, mainly due to a 2.5-fold attenuation of the mean secretory burst mass (P = 0.001). In hypercortisolemic patients, GH secretion was negatively correlated with BMI (R = -0.55, P = 0.005) but not cortisol secretion. Total serum IGF-I concentrations were similar in the three groups. Approximate entropy. (ApEn) was increased in patients with Cushing's syndrome compared with both control groups (vs. BMI-matched, P = 0.04; vs. lean, P = 0.001), denoting more irregular GH secretion patterns. ApEn in patients correlated directly with cortisol secretion (R = 0.77, P = 0.003). Synchrony between cortisol and GH concentration series was analyzed by cross-correlation, cross-ApEn, and copulsatility analyses. Patients showed loss of pattern synchrony compared with BMI-matched controls, but copulsatility was unchanged. We conclude that hyposomatotropism in primary adrenal hypercortisolism is only partly explained (∼30%) by increased body weight and that increased GH secretory irregularity and loss of synchrony suggest altered coordinate regulation of GH release.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E63-E70
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number1 51-1
StatePublished - Jan 2005


  • Adrenal adenoma
  • Cortisol
  • Entropy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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