Overnight urinary growth hormone secretion was measured by an immunoradiometric assay incorporating commercially available reagents, in 41 normal prepubertal school-children from three age groups: 3-5 years, 6-7 years, and 9-10 years. There was no significant difference between the groups expressing the results as total microU/specimen and so they have been combined to provide a prepubertal reference range of 2.25-10.50 microU/night. Prepubertal children with growth hormone deficiency who had not been receiving growth hormone treatment for two days had overnight urinary growth hormone concentrations well below this range. Urinary growth hormone was assayed in 49 children undergoing investigation for short stature with conventional provocative testing, and those shown to have growth hormone deficiency had correspondingly low overnight urinary growth hormone concentrations. There was, in addition, a strong correlation between overnight urinary growth hormone concentrations and peak serum response to provocation. This simple urine assay may provide a useful screening test for growth hormone deficiency.
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