Low growth hormone secretion associated with post-acute sequelae SARS-CoV-2 infection (PASC) neurologic symptoms: A case-control pilot study

Traver J. Wright, Richard B. Pyles, Melinda Sheffield-Moore, Rachel R. Deer, Kathleen M. Randolph, Kristen A. McGovern, Christopher P. Danesi, Charles R. Gilkison, Weston W. Ward, Jayson A. Vargas, Peyton A. Armstrong, Sarah E. Lindsay, Mohammed F. Zaidan, Justin Seashore, Tamara L. Wexler, Brent E. Masel, Randall J. Urban

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To determine if patients that develop lingering neurologic symptoms of fatigue and “brain fog” after initial recovery from coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) have persistent low growth hormone (GH) secretion as seen in other conditions with similar symptom etiology. Design: In this case-control observational pilot study, patients reporting lingering neurologic post-acute sequelae of SARS-CoV-2 (PASC, n = 10) symptoms at least 6 months after initial infection were compared to patients that recovered from COVID-19 without lingering symptoms (non-PASC, n = 13). We compared basic blood chemistry and select metabolites, lipids, hormones, inflammatory markers, and vitamins between groups. PASC and non-PASC subjects were tested for neurocognition and GH secretion, and given questionnaires to assess symptom severity. PASC subjects were also tested for glucose tolerance and adrenal function. Results: PASC subjects reported significantly worse fatigue, sleep quality, depression, quality of life, and gastrointestinal discomfort compared to non-PASC. Although PASC subjects self-reported poor mental resilience, cognitive testing did not reveal significant differences between groups. Neurologic PASC symptoms were not linked to inflammatory markers or adrenal insufficiency, but were associated with reduced growth hormone secretion. Conclusions: Neurologic PASC symptoms are associated with gastrointestinal discomfort and persistent disruption of GH secretion following recovery from acute COVID-19. (www.clinicaltrials.gov;

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number112071
JournalMolecular and Cellular Endocrinology
StatePublished - Jan 1 2024


  • Biomarkers
  • Cognition
  • Depression
  • Fatigue
  • Gastrointestinal
  • Growth hormone
  • Long COVID
  • PASC
  • Quality of life
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Sleep

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology


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