The occurrence of central hypothyroidism in previously euthyroid children during GH therapy has been reported with widely varying incidence. We monitored the acute effects on the hypothalamic-pituitary-thyroid axis in 15 euthyroid children with classic GH deficiency during the first year of GH therapy. All were initially euthyroid, as assessed by normal baseline TSH, T4, free T4, and T3 levels and negative antithyroid antibodies. A thyroid profile (T4, free T4 index, T3, rT3, and TSH) was performed at baseline and 1, 3, 6, 9, and 12-15 months after GH therapy began; a TRH stimulation test was performed at baseline and after 1, 3, and 9 months of therapy. By 1 month, there were significant decreases in T4, free T4 index, and rT3, and significant increases in T3 and the T3/T4 ratio. The changes from baseline values were greatest at 1 month, were almost universal for all thyroid values, and showed a gradual return to baseline from 3-12 months. There were no clinical signs of hypothyroidism and no change in baseline or TRH-stimulated TSH levels or in cholesterol levels, and all patients grew at velocities expected for the treatment schedule. There is little evidence for the development of clinically significant hypothyroidism in the great majority of initially euthyroid patients after GH therapy is begun. T4 supplementation is seldom needed in such patients.
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View details for PubMedID 9768652