Growth hormone improves liver health for patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) by reducing lipid levels and relieving inflammation in the liver, announced at ENDO 2022, the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in Atlanta.

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a fatty liver disease that is caused by factors other than excessive alcohol consumption. Obesity and diabetes often lead to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Hepatic steatosis can lead to hepatitis, and then – during the disease – to cirrhosis and cirrhosis of the liver. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease affects 25% of people worldwide and up to 80% of obese people in the United States.

“Two risk factors for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, obesity and diabetes, are becoming increasingly common,” said lead researcher Dr. Laura Dichtel of Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston. “We currently do not have any FDA-approved treatment for NAFLD, and weight loss is the only effective treatment. Understanding how growth hormone improves liver fat and inflammation in people with NAFLD could lead to the development of new targeted therapies.”

Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) is a progressive form of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis. Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis is characterized by hepatitis and liver cell damage and is often accompanied by cirrhosis. Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis with severe cirrhosis can lead to cirrhosis or liver failure. Cirrhosis of the liver due to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis is one of the main reasons for liver transplantation in the United States.

The scientists decided to investigate the effects of growth hormone in NAFLD because administration of growth hormone is known to reduce fat content in adipose tissue and reduce inflammation. “We know that higher body weight is associated with relatively lower levels of growth hormone and higher rates of NAFLD and NASH,” Dichtel said. We wanted to know if administration of growth hormone to healthy adults with overweight/obese and NAFLD would reduce fatty liver, inflammation and fibrosis. “

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Researchers studied 41 participants who were given either growth hormone or a placebo for 6 months in a randomized, double-blind study.

As indicated by MRI measurements, liver fat level, inflammation severity and cirrhosis improved with growth hormone compared to the placebo group. Liver function tests and inflammatory markers also improved. Growth hormone was well tolerated and there were no safety concerns.

Dr. Dichtel said: “This research brings us one step closer to understanding how our hormones affect nonalcoholic fatty liver. This shows that increasing levels of growth hormone in the body can improve liver health in patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver.” (PAP)

Author: Pawe Wernicki

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