Sixteen prepubertal children who were insufficient for growth hormone were treated with growth hormone releasing hormone (GHRH) 1-40 and GHRH 1-29 for a mean time of nine months (range 6-12 months) with each peptide. Eleven children received GHRH 1-40 in four subcutaneous nocturnal pulses (dose 4-8 micrograms/kg/day) and eight (three of whom were also treated with GHRH 1-40) received GHRH 1-29 twice daily (dose 8-16 micrograms/kg/day). Altogether 73% of the children receiving GHRH 1-40 and 63% receiving GHRH 1-29 showed a growth response. Double the daily dose of GHRH 1-29 was required to obtain equivalent growth response to pulsatile GHRH 1-40. A significant linear correlation was shown between growth hormone secretion and height velocity on GHRH 1-40 but not on GHRH 1-29 and there was a significant correlation between plasma GHRH and serum growth hormone concentrations during GHRH 1-40 administration. Response to conventional growth hormone treatment in a matched group of children was significantly better than the response after GHRH. A significant improvement in height velocity was observed in the children transferred to growth hormone replacement. Growth hormone remains the treatment of choice in growth hormone insufficiency. GHRH treatment may be of benefit in children with less severe growth hormone insufficiency in the presence of pulsatile endogenous growth hormone secretion.
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