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Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 1987 Dec;27(6):727-33.

GH feedback occurs through modulation of hypothalamic somatostatin under cholinergic control: studies with pyridostigmine and GHRH.

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  • 1Department of Endocrinology, St Bartholomew's Hospital, London, UK.


We have studied the effect of increased cholinergic tone on the GH response to growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) and on GH feedback, using pyridostigmine, an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor. In six healthy male adult volunteers 120 mg oral pyridostigmine increased basal GH secretion compared to placebo and augmented the GH response to 100 micrograms i.v. GHRH (1-29) NH2; the effect was more than the additive effect of pyridostigmine and GHRH when each was given alone. Pretreatment with 2 IU methionyl-hGH given i.v. abolished the serum GH response to GHRH given 3 h later, demonstrating a negative feedback loop of GH on the response to GHRH; this inhibited response to GHRH was restored in subjects given pyridostigmine as well as methionyl-hGH. The data demonstrate that enhanced cholinergic tone releases GH, augments the serum GH response to GHRH and unblocks the negative feedback effect of methionyl-hGH pretreatment on the GH response to GHRH. These results suggest that GH negative feedback effects on its own secretion occur predominantly through increased hypothalamic somatostatin secretion; this somatostatin secretion is under inhibitory cholinergic control.

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