Background: Growth hormone deficiency (GHD) is associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). A recent animal study showed that hepatocyte-specific receptor activator of nuclear factor-kappa B (RANK) knockout mice had significantly lower liver fat content compared with control mice concomitant with a decrease in production of inflammatory cytokines such as tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) from hepatocytes and kupffer cells. The role of anti-RANK ligand (RANKL) antibody for osteoporosis on hepatitis in patients with aGHD is still unknown. Case presentation: A forty-seven-year-old female patient was referred to our hospital to investigate chronic hepatitis caused by unknown etiology. She had past history of craniopharyngioma treated with craniotomy and post-surgical radiotherapy. She was for the first time diagnosed as panhypopituitarism including growth hormone deficiency and osteoporosis by endocrine examinations and bone mineral densitometry, respectively. In addition, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) was histologically confirmed by liver biopsy in this time. Sixty mg anti-RANKL antibody, which was subcutaneously injected to treat the osteoporosis every six months after replacement of 5 mg hydrocortisone and 30 μg oral desmopressin, rapidly decreased the levels of her liver enzymes (ALT and γGTP were 133 to 72 U/L and 284 to 99 U/L at 16 months after the beginning of the treatment, respectively). Additional amelioration of liver dysfunction was not observed after growth hormone replacement. Conclusions: The clinical course of the present case suggested that RANKL-RANK signaling may be a key pathological mechanism in establishment or development of NAFLD or NASH in patients with panhypopituitarism including GHD.
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