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Sebum Excretion in Acromegaly

Br Med J 1972; 1 doi: (Published 12 February 1972) Cite this as: Br Med J 1972;1:406
  1. J. L. Burton,
  2. L. J. Libman,
  3. W. J. Cunliffe,
  4. R. Wilkinson,
  5. R. Hall,
  6. S. Shuster


    The sebum excretion rate (S.E.R.) was measured in 20 patients with acromegaly. Eleven were untreated at the time of the measurement and nine had previously undergone surgical hypophysectomy or had received pituitary irradiation by yttrium-90 or radiotherapy. In five patients the S.E.R. was measured before and after such treatment. The mean S.E.R. in the untreated acromegalics was much greater than in a normal population and decreased significantly after successful pituitary ablation. No significant decrease in mean S.E.R. occurred in the group of patients with a poor clinical response to ablation. The correlations between S.E.R. and log serum growth hormone, plasma 11-hydroxycorticosteroid levels, and heel-pad thickness were significant, but there was no significant correlation between S.E.R. and serum protein-bound iodine levels. This suggests that the changes in S.E.R. were due to pituitary ablation but could not necessarily be attributed solely to changes in growth hormone, thyroid-stimulating hormone, or adrenocorticotrophic hormone. The association between the clinical state of the acromegaly and the S.E.R. was better than the association between acromegaly and serum growth hormone. We conclude that the S.E.R. is a useful addition to the clinical and endocrinological data used in assessing acromegaly.