Research Article

Evidence for existence of two types of massive obesity.

Br Med J 1980; 280 doi: (Published 12 January 1980) Cite this as: Br Med J 1980;280:82
  1. P G Kopelman,
  2. T R Pilkington,
  3. N White,
  4. S L Jeffcoate


    The responses of growth hormone, cortisol, and prolactin to symptomatic hypoglycaemia during an intravenous insulin tolerance test were measured in 20 massively obese subjects and six lean volunteers. In 11 subjects, who had been obese since early childhood, an impaired growth-hormone response and an absent prolactin response were found. In the nine other obese subjects, however, the growth-hormone and prolactin responses were not significantly impaired. Seven of these subjects had become obese either as a teenager or during adult life. These findings suggest the existence of two types of human obesity similar to those found in rodent models. In one the disorder of hypothalamic function may be due to a basic, possibly genetic abnormality, while in the other it is acquired.