Individuals with isolated congenital GH deficiency due to a GHRH receptor gene mutation appear to cope better with SARS-CoV-2 infection than controls

Manuela A. Melo, Lysandro P. Borges, Roberto Salvatori, Daniela R.V. Souza, Hertz T. Santos-Júnior, José M. de R. Neto, Viviane C. Campos, Aryanne A. Santos, Carla R.P. Oliveira, Grazielly B. da Invenção, Vanderlan O. Batista, Igor L.S. Matos, Cynthia S. Barros-Oliveira, Kezia A. dos Santos, Elenilde G. Santos, Nicolas A.A. Souza, Enaldo V. Melo, Pamela C. Borges, Saulo E.F.S. Santos, Brenda M. de OliveiraAlécia A. Oliveira-Santos, Amélia R. de Jesus, Manuel H. Aguiar-Oliveira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: Several interactions exist between the GH/IGF axis and the immune system, including effects on innate immunity and humoral and cellular response. Acquired GH deficiency (GHD) has been recently proposed as a risk factor for severity of COVID-19 infections. However, acquired GHD is often associated to other factors, including pituitary tumors, surgery, radiotherapy, and additional pituitary hormones deficits and their replacements, which, together, may hinder an accurate analysis of the relationship between GHD and COVID-19. Therefore, we decided to assess the seroprevalence of SARS-CoV-2 antibodies and the frequency of symptomatic cases of COVID-19 in adults subjects with untreated isolated GHD (IGHD) due to a homozygous null mutation in the GHRH receptor gene. Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out in 27 adult IGHD subjects and 27 age- and gender-matched local controls. Interview, physical examination, bio-impedance, hematological and SARS-CoV-2 IgM and IgG antibodies were analyzed. Results: There was no difference in the prevalence of positivity of anti-SARS-CoV-2 IgM and IgG antibodies between the two groups. Conversely, no IGHD individual had a previous clinical diagnosis of COVID-19 infection, while 6 control subjects did (p = 0.023). Conclusion: The production of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies was similar between IGHD subjects due to a GHRH receptor gene mutation and controls, but the evolution to symptomatic stages of the infection and the frequency of confirmed cases was lower in IGHD subjects than in GH sufficient individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)349-355
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2021


  • COVID-19
  • GH
  • GHRH receptor
  • IGF-I
  • SARS-CoV-2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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