Childhood-onset growth hormone deficiency, cognitive function and brain N-acetylaspartate

P Sytze van Dam, Channa F de Winter, Rehana de Vries, Jeroen Van Der Grond, Madeleine L Drent, Marijn Lijffijt, J Leon Kenemans, André Aleman, Edward H F de Haan, Hans P F Koppeschaar

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Cognitive deficits have been reported in adults with childhood-onset growth hormone (GH) deficiency. We evaluated cognitive deficits simultaneously with parameters for neuronal integrity using (1)H magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) in a cross-sectional design. We studied 11 adults (mean age 24.5 years) with childhood-onset GH deficiency, which persisted after reaching final height. All subjects were evaluated after interruption of GH supplementation for at least 3 months. We performed neuropsychological assessment (NPA) using tests evaluating memory, mental processing speed, reading ability and executive functioning. MRS was used to assess brain N-acetylaspartate (NAA)/choline ratios. Data were compared with an age-, sex- and education-matched control group (n=9, mean age 27.3 years). NPA demonstrated attenuated performance of the patients in the delayed verbal memory recall score (P<0.05) and the trail making A test (P<0.05), a measure of planning of behavior, processing speed and attention. Other neuropsychological tests were not affected. NAA/choline ratios were significantly reduced (P<0.01) in GH deficient subjects. Specific cognitive defects indicating affected memory and attention were found in patients with childhood-onset GH deficiency. These defects occur simultaneously with reduced neuronal integrity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)357-363
Number of pages7
Issue number4
Early online date12 Jan 2005
Publication statusPublished - May 2005


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Aging
  • Aging/psychology
  • Aspartic Acid
  • Aspartic Acid/analogs & derivatives
  • Brain
  • Brain Chemistry
  • Brain Chemistry/physiology
  • Brain/pathology
  • Choline
  • Choline/metabolism
  • Clinical Trial
  • Cognition
  • Cognition Disorders
  • Cognition Disorders/pathology
  • Cognition/physiology
  • Female
  • Human Growth Hormone
  • Human Growth Hormone/deficiency
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I/metabolism
  • Journal Article
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy
  • Male
  • Neurons
  • Neurons/pathology
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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