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22.02.2021 Open Access

Effects of oral macimorelin on copeptin and anterior pituitary hormones in healthy volunteers

Zeitschrift:
Pituitary
Autoren:
Sandrine A. Urwyler, Sven Lustenberger, Juliana R. Drummond, Beatriz Santana Soares, Deborah R. Vogt, Nicola Ammer, Kevin C. J. Yuen, Antonio Ribeiro-Oliveira, Mirjam Christ-Crain
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Abstract

Purpose

The test with the highest diagnostic accuracy for diabetes insipidus is copeptin measurement after hypertonic saline infusion. However, the procedure is cumbersome and unpleasant due to rapid sodium increase. An oral stimulation test would be highly desirable. Macimorelin, an oral ghrelin agonist, is a newly approved diagnostic test for growth hormone (GH) deficiency, but its effects on copeptin/vasopressin are unknown and the effects on other pituitary hormones only scarcely investigated.

Methods

In this prospective, interventional, proof-of-concept study Copeptin and anterior pituitary hormones were measured in 28 healthy volunteers on two test days at baseline, 30, 45, 60, 90 and 120 min after a single dose of macimorelin (first visit: 0.5 mg/kg, second visit: 0.75 mg/kg).

Results

Baseline copeptin levels were 5.26 pmol/L [1.57, 6.81] and did not change after macimorelin intake (0.5 mg/kg: maximal median change 0.40 [− 0.49, 0.65] pmol/L, p = 0.442; 0.75 mg/kg: − 0.13 [− 0.45, 0.17] pmol/L, p = 0.442. Median GH levels increased from 3.67 mU/L with a maximal median change of 94.66 [IQR 56.5; 110.96] mU/L, p < 0.001. No effect was seen on cortisol, ACTH, LH and FSH levels. Prolactin (max. median change 100 [2.5; 146.5] mU/L, p = 0.004) and free thyroxine (fT4) (0.5 [0.2; 0.8] pmol/L, p < 0.001) increased, whereas TSH decreased (− 0.18 [− 0.22, − 0.09] mU/L, p < 0.001).

Conclusion

We confirm an increase of GH upon macimorelin in healthy volunteers. However, macimorelin did not stimulate copeptin and therefore does not provide an oral test alternative for the diagnosis of diabetes insipidus. Additionally, a stimulatory effect was seen for prolactin and fT4, but not for ACTH and gonadotropic hormones.

Registration

The trial was registered on ClinicalTrials.gov (NCT03844217) on February 18, 2019.

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