Human pancreatic tumour growth hormone releasing factor (hpGRF-40) 10 μg/kg was administered intravenously to 6 normal young men and 12 adult patients who had presented in childhood with growth hormone (GH) deficiency (7 patients had isolated GH deficiency, 4 had multiple anterior pituitary hormone deficiencies, and 1 had Hand-Schüller-Christian [HSC] disease). hpGRF-40 administration increased serum GH concentrations in all normal subjects and in 3 of 7 patients with isolated GH deficiency and in the 1 with HSC disease; however, the mean serum GH concentration in the patients who responded was less than that of the normal subjects. Somatomedin C concentrations were increased 24 h after a single dose of hpGRF-40 in 8 of 10 patients with GH deficiency. All subjects experienced flushing in response to hpGRF-40. A patient with isolated GH deficiency received O·33 μg/kg hpGRF-40 every 3 h for 5 days. Despite the modest increase in GH in response to a subsequent dose of 10 μg/kg hpGRF-40, serum somatomedin C levels increased within 12 h from 0·06 to 0·1 U/ml and peaked at 0·36 U/ml at 72 h; in addition the patient with HSC disease, treated with hpGRF-40 daily for 5 days, demonstrated an increase in somatomedin C from 0·4 to 0·58 U/ml. The increase after hpGRF-40 in serum GH levels in this patient and the similar or greater responses in 3 of 7 patients suggest that at least some of these patients may have hypothalamic GH-releasinghormone deficiency. hpGRF-40 may be useful in distinguishing pituitary disease from hypothalamic disease. After hpGRF-40 administration serum somatomedin C levels may increase without a change in serum immunoreactive GH concentrations. Further studies are needed to determine whether hpGRF-40 is useful in promoting linear growth in children with GH deficiency.
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