Oral Presentation The Annual Scientific Meeting of the Endocrine Society of Australia and the Society for Reproductive Biology 2014

Effects of GH on anaerobic capacity in adults with growth hormone deficiency: a double blind placebo controlled trial (#67)

Viral Chikani 1 2 , Ross Cuneo 1 , Ingrid Hickman 2 3 , Ken Ho 1 2
  1. Department of Diabetes and Endocrinology, Princess Alexandra Hospital, Woolloongabba, QLD, Australia
  2. University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
  3. Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Princess Alexandra Hospital and the Mater Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, QLD, Australia

Background GH-deficient (GHD) adults have reduced anaerobic exercise capacity(1), a performance measure dependent on energy derived from anaerobic glycolysis and on muscle strength. Short-term GH therapy improves anaerobic exercise capacity in recreational athletes without a change in muscle strength(2),  an effect on energy metabolism rather than on muscle anabolism.

Aim To investigate whether short-term GH improves anaerobic capacity and physical function in GHD adults.

Method 17 hypopituitary adults, aged 47±2.4 years on conventional replacement therapy were randomized into a 2-month double-blind placebo-controlled GH replacement (0.5mg/day) study with a crossover at 1-month. Anaerobic capacity (watts) was assessed by the Wingate test and aerobic capacity by the VO2max (L/min) test. Physical function was assessed by the stair-climb test, chair-stand test and 7-day pedometry. Lean body mass (LBM) was quantified by DEXA. Data were analyzed by repeated-measures ANOVA and tested for carry-over effects. Results are expressed as mean±SE.


There were no statistically significant changes in body composition, anaerobic capacity, aerobic capacity and functional measures between placebo and GH treatments.




LBM (kg)




Anaerobic power (W/kg.LBM)

VO2max (mL/kg.LBM/min)







Stair climb test (secs)

Chair stand test (number/30 sec)

Pedometry (Steps/day)










Summary One month of GH replacement did not increase LBM, anaerobic power, VO2max or measures of physical function.


Short-term GH replacement does not stimulate the anaerobic energy system. Longer term studies are required to ascertain whether GH improves anaerobic capacity in GHD adults.

  1. Chikani V, et al. Annual Scientific Meeting of the Endocrine Society of Australia, Sydney 2013;Abstract 117
  2. Meinhardt U, et al. Ann Intern Med.2010;152(9):568-77.