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26.11.2018 | Original Article | Ausgabe 2/2019 Open Access

European Journal of Applied Physiology 2/2019

Effect of growth hormone treatment on energy expenditure and its relation to first-year growth response in children

European Journal of Applied Physiology > Ausgabe 2/2019
Saartje Straetemans, D. A. Schott, Guy Plasqui, Hilde Dotremont, Angèle J. G. M. Gerver-Jansen, An Verrijken, Klaas Westerterp, Luc J. I. Zimmermann, Willem-Jan M. Gerver
Wichtige Hinweise
Communicated by Phillip D Chilibeck.



The effects of growth hormone (GH) treatment on linear growth and body composition have been studied extensively. Little is known about the GH effect on energy expenditure (EE). The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of GH treatment on EE in children, and to study whether the changes in EE can predict the height gain after 1 year.


Total EE (TEE), basal metabolic rate (BMR), and physical activity level (PAL) measurements before and after 6 weeks of GH treatment were performed in 18 prepubertal children (5 girls, 13 boys) born small for gestational age (n = 14) or with growth hormone deficiency (n = 4) who were eligible for GH treatment. TEE was measured with the doubly labelled water method, BMR was measured with an open-circuit ventilated hood system, PAL was assessed using an accelerometer for movement registration and calculated (PAL = TEE/BMR), activity related EE (AEE) was calculated [AEE = (0.9 × TEE) − BMR]. Height measurements at start and after 1 year of GH treatment were analysed. This is a 1-year longitudinal intervention study, without a control group for comparison.


BMR and TEE increased significantly (resp. 5% and 7%). Physical activity (counts/day), PAL, and AEE did not change. 11 out of 13 patients (85%) with an increased TEE after 6 weeks of GH treatment had a good first-year growth response (∆height SDS > 0.5).


GH treatment showed a positive effect on EE in prepubertal children after 6 weeks. No effect on physical activity was observed. The increase in TEE appeared to be valuable for the prediction of good first-year growth responders to GH treatment.

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