Growth hormone is important for the development and function of the immune system, but there is controversy on whether growth hormone deficiency is associated to immune disorders. A model of isolated growth hormone deficiency may clarify if the lack of growth hormone is associated with increased susceptibility to infections, or with an altered responsiveness of the immune system. We have studied the frequency of infectious diseases and the immune function in adults with congenital, untreated isolated growth hormone deficiency. In a cross-sectional study, 35 adults with isolated growth hormone deficiency due to a homozygous mutation in the growth hormone releasing hormone receptor gene and 31 controls were submitted to a clinical questionnaire, physical examination serology for tripanosomiasis, leishmaniasis, HIV, tetanus, hepatitis B and C, and serum total immunoglobulin G, M, E and A measurement. The immune response was evaluated in a subset of these subjects by skin tests and response to vaccination for hepatitis B, tetanus, and bacillus Calmette-Guérin. There was no difference between the groups in history of infectious diseases and baseline serology. Isolated growth hormone deficiency subjects had lower total IgG, but within normal range. There was no difference in the response to any of the vaccinations or in the positivity to protein Purified Derived, streptokinase or candidin. Adult untreated isolated growth hormone deficiency does not cause an increased frequency of infectious diseases, and does not alter serologic tests, but is associated with lower total IgG levels, without detectable clinical impact.
Infectious diseases and immunological responses in adult subjects with lifetime untreated, congenital GH deficiency.