Growth hormone (GH) secretion in man is pulsatile and this pattern is regulated by both GH-releasing hormone (GHRH) and somatostatin. A large body of experimental evidence in both man and animals supports the model that bursts of GH secretion are mediated by a reduction of tonic hypothalamic somatostatin secretion. Our studies have been performed in normal subjects with frequent blood sampling for GH measurements (from 20-minute to 30-second intervals); the data have been analyzed by computer algorithms to objectively determine pulse characteristics and, in some studies, to estimate both pituitary secretion and clearance rates using deconvolution analysis. The studies include profiles of GH secretion in normal men and women in fed and fasted states; analysis of GH secretion during sleep; and administration of GHRH during different stages of sleep and after sleep deprivation. The variable GH response to exogenous GHRH and the attenuated response after 6 hours of GHRH infusion to GHRH, while not to hypoglycemia, as well as the pulsatile profile of GH secretion in response to continuous GHRH infusions (24 hours to 14 days), all support the thesis that it is hypothalamic somatostatin that determines the timing of bursts of GH secretion. This is further confirmed by the profile of GH secretion in a patient with ectopic GHRH secretion. Recently, we have initiated studies with the novel synthetic GH releasing hexapeptide, HisDTrpAlaTrpDPheLysNH2 (GHRP). Our studies show that it acts synergistically with GHRH. Several lines of evidence suggest that GHRP stimulates GH secretion independently of GHRH receptors and acts at both the hypothalamic and pituitary levels. It may act to functionally antagonize somatostatin.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism