Homocysteine levels in acromegaly patients.

: Acromegaly is associated with a two to three-fold increase in mortality related predominantly to cardiovascular disease. The excess mortality is associated most closely with higher levels of growth hormone (GH). Survival in acromegaly may be normalized to a control age-matched rate by controlling GH levels; in particular, GH levels less than 2.5 ng/mL are associated with survival rates equal to those of the general population. Hyperhomocysteinemia has also been recognized as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, yet there are limited data on the prevalence of hyperhomocysteinemia in patients with acromegaly. Eighteen acromegaly patients (7 male, 11 female, mean age 42.8 +/- 11.0 years) in our endocrine clinic consented to having the following tests performed: complete blood count (CBC), thyroid hormones, folic acid, vitamin B12, plasma homocysteine levels, uric acid, fibrinogen, CRP, fasting glucose, insulin, C-peptide, total serum cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, GH, insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and GH levels after an oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). By history, fourteen had macroadenomas and four had microadenomas; eight had hypertension; two had glucose intolerance, and four had diabetes. Fifteen had had transsphenoidal or transfrontal surgery: two had been cured, but 13 others were taking long-acting octreotide. Five patients had undergone radiotherapy and the acromegaly in two was treated primarily with long-acting octreotide. CBC, thyroid hormone, folic acid, and vit B12 levels were normal in all patients. We divided the patients into two groups according to mean GH levels after an OGTT: Group 1 (GH<2.5 ng/mL, n=10), and Group 2 (GH<2.5 ng/mL, n=8). Comparison of the two groups using Mann-Whitney U testing revealed statistically significant lower levels in Group 1 of the following parameters: GH (1.91 +/- 0.90 vs. 8.58 +/- 5.55 ng/mL, p=0.002), IGF-1 (338.30 +/- 217.90 vs. 509.60 +/- 293.58 ng/dL, p=0.06), GH after an OGTT (1.42 +/- 0.81 vs. 9.01 +/- 4.53 ng/mL, p=0.001), plasma homocysteine (12.85 +/- 4.47 vs. 18.20 +/- 4.99 micromol/L, p=0.05), total cholesterol (164.0 +/- 20.81 vs. 188.0 +/- 22.26 mg/dL, p=0.05) and LDL cholesterol (81.0 +/- 9.64 vs. 116.70 +/- 13.03 mg/dl, p=0.01). Differences between the other parameters were not significantly different. Acromegaly patients with high GH levels after an OGTT have much higher levels of homocysteine than patients with lower GH levels. The role of elevated homocysteine levels as an independent cardiovascular risk factor in the mortality of acromegaly patients should be determined in future studies.

 Full text PDF