, Volume 58, Issue 1, pp 115–123 | Cite as

Growth hormone deficiency and hypopituitarism in adults after complicated mild traumatic brain injury

  • Stefania Giuliano
  • Serafina Talarico
  • Lucia Bruno
  • Francesco Beniamino Nicoletti
  • Claudio Ceccotti
  • Antonino BelfioreEmail author
Original Article



Traumatic brain injury is considered the main cause of hypopituitarism in adults, and GH deficiency appears to be the most frequent pituitary deficit. Most of the available studies have included all degrees of severity of trauma. We aimed to assess pituitary function and GH deficiency in adult patients at different time lengths after complicated mild TBI according to Glasgow Coma Scale. We also aimed to evaluate whether mild TBI patients with GH deficiency had developed alterations in the glycolipid profile.


Forty-eight patients (34 men and 14 women) with complicated mild TBI were included in the study. Twenty-three patients were evaluated at 1 year (Group A) and 25 patients at 5 years or longer after the injury (Group B). All patients underwent basal hormonal evaluation for pituitary function. GH deficiency was investigated by the combined test (GH releasing hormone + arginine). The glycolipid profile was also evaluated.


GH deficiency occurred in 8/23 patients (34.7 %) of Group A and in 12/25 patients (48 %) of Group B. In addition, two patients, one in each group, showed evidence of central hypothyroidism. Patients with GH deficiency, especially in Group A, presented a higher frequency of visceral adiposity and adverse metabolic profile as compared to no-GH deficiency patients.


Patients examined at 1 year or several years from complicated mild TBI had a similarly high occurrence of isolated GH deficiency, which was associated with visceral adiposity and metabolic alterations. Our findings suggest that patients undergone complicated mild TBI should be evaluated for GH deficiency even after several years from trauma.


Growth hormone deficiency in adults Hypopituitarism Complicated mild traumatic brain injury GHD Cardiovascular risk 



mild TBI


GH deficiency



This work was supported in part by grant IG 14066/2013 to AB from the Associazione Italiana per la Ricerca sul Cancro (AIRC). SG has received financial support for educational programs from Merck-Serono.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Health Sciences, EndocrinologyUniversity Magna Graecia of CatanzaroCatanzaroItaly
  2. 2.Neurosurgery UnitPugliese-Ciaccio HospitalCatanzaroItaly

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