It is known that thyroid pathology is generally more frequently found in women than in men. The somatotroph axis stimulates skeleton growth, but also the development of smooth tissues, including the thyroid gland. We investigated the effect of chronic GH excess upon ultrasound-evaluated (7.5 MHz linear probe) thyroid gland morphology of 74 patients (40 women şi 34 men) diagnosed with acromegaly. When compared to mean thyroid volume of age- and sex-matched non-acromegalic controls, mean thyroid volume was found to be significantly increased in both male and female acromegalic patients (24±8.8 vs 13.2±6.1 ml for males, 23.4±10.2 vs 10.7±7.9 ml for females and 23.9±8.9 vs 11.1±3.2 ml for the whole group, P<0.05 at t-test). The incidence of goiter (defined as thyroid volume of over 20 ml in females and over 25 ml in males) and of thyroid nodules was higher in female than in male controls (5.5 vs 2.4% for goiter and 13 vs 4% for nodules, P<0.05 at the χ2 test). Goiter incidence was much higher in acromegalic patients (56% in acromegalic women vs 5.5% in healthy age and sex matched controls and of 43% in acromegalic men vs 2.4% in healthy controls, P<0.0001). The incidence of thyroid nodules was again high both in acromegalic females (40 vs 13% in controls) and males (33 vs 4% in controls, P<0.005). No correlation between GH levels and thyroid volume or nodular volume was found. IGF-1 was assessed only in a minority of our study group. The only parameter correlated to the thyroid volume and to the incidence of thyroid nodules observed in our group was the length of disease evolution (P<0.05). We did not notice the appearance of thyroid neoplasias or of nodular autonomy in our patients. Chronic GH excess increases thyroid volume and nodule incidence both in women and men, attenuating sex differences in thyroid morphology.
03 - 07 May 2008
European Society of Endocrinology