Reduced growth hormone secretion after cranial irradiation contributes to neurocognitive dysfunction

E H Quik, G D Valk, M L Drent, L J A Stalpers, J L Kenemans, H P F Koppeschaar, P S van Dam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The objective of this study was to investigate the relation between growth hormone (GH) and attentional electro-cortical responses to task-relevant stimuli (N2b), target detections, speed of responding, P300 latencies, and performance on neuropsychological tests in 19 patients who received external beam radiation therapy for brain tumors in adulthood. In addition, we studied the association between IGF-I and activation of the motor cortex responses (lateralized readiness potential, LRP). Brain function was assessed using event-related potentials (ERPs) during a go/no go selective-attention task, including N2b, P300 and selective motor preparation as reflected in the LRP. Correlations were calculated between peak GH levels after a standardized growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH)-arginine test, plasma IGF-I, and cognitive functions. We separately studied four patients who were diagnosed with GHD according to the GHRH-arginine test. Performance on WAIS digit span backward and the Rey-Osterrieth complex figure test correlated positively with GH peak. GHD patients performed worse than non-GHD patients on Stroop interference, trail making B/A attentional shifting and Rey-Osterrieth complex figure test. At trend-level significance, trails A performance was better in patients with lower GH levels and higher radiation doses, and GHD participants detected fewer targets in the go/no go selective attention task. N2b was not significantly altered by GH status. Furthermore, plasma IGF-I was positively correlated with the sum of digit span forward and backward. No relations with P300 were observed. In this study only 21% (4/19) of the patients who received fractionated radiotherapy for a non-endocrine brain tumor were diagnosed with GHD. GHD in these patients was associated with impaired interference control, attentional shifting, and visual long-term memory. The results for interference control and attentional shifting suggest an additional effect of the radiation history.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)42-47
Number of pages6
JournalGrowth Hormone & IGF Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cognition Disorders
  • Cranial irradiation therapy
  • Female
  • Human Growth Hormone
  • Humans
  • Insulin-Like Growth Factor I
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Radiation Injuries
  • Brain function
  • Event related brain potentials (ERPs)


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