The episodicity of 24 h GH release was studied in 18 patients with active acromegaly, 12 patients 7-10 days after pituitary surgery, 14 patients long after operation (3-17 years), and 21 healthy gender- and age-matched control subjects, using a recently introduced scale- and model-independent regularity statistic, approximate entropy (ApEn). Blood samples were taken at 10-min intervals for 24 h, and plasma GH concentrations were measured by immunofluorometric assay (detection limit 11.5 ng/l). For this study we selected operated patients who were biochemically in remission, defined by normal circulating IGF-I and insulin-like growth factor-binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3) concentrations, normal glucose-suppressed plasma GH concentration (<0.38 μg/l), and the normalization of the paradoxical rise of GH to TRH or GnRH. In patients with active acromegaly ApEn was 1.23 ± 0.04, with no overlap with the control subjects (P = 1.2 x 10-16), who had an ApEn of 0.40 ± 0.04. ApEn in patients shortly after surgery was 0.71 ± 0.09 (P < 0.001 vs controls), and long after surgery 0.56 ± 0.05 (P < 0.011 vs controls). ApEn values in treated and untreated patients correlated significantly with the plasma concentration of IGF-I (r = 0.531) and IGFBP-3 (r = 0.598), and the log-transformed 24 h GH secretion rate (r = 0.749). Shortly after surgery only one-third of the patients had a normal ApEn value, whereas long after surgery about 70% of the patients had a normal ApEn value. Although ApEn eventually normalized in about 70% of the operated patients, the cause of the persistence of abnormal GH release in the remainder of the subjects is not known, and might reflect permanent hypothalamic-pituitary dysfunction or a very early recurrence of the somatotroph adenoma.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism