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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1999 Mar;84(3):856-62.

Genetic control of 24-hour growth hormone secretion in man: a twin study.

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Department of Psychiatry, Erasme Hospital, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels, Belgium.


The aim of this study was to delineate the contributions of genetic and environmental factors in the regulation of the 24-h GH secretion. The 24-h profile of plasma GH was obtained at 15-min intervals in 10 pairs of monozygotic and 9 pairs of dizygotic normal male twins, aged 16-34 yr. Sleep was polygraphically monitored. Significant pulses of GH secretion were identified using a modification of the computer algorithm ULTRA. For each significant pulse, the amount of GH secreted was calculated by deconvolution. A procedure specially developed for twin studies was used to partition the variance of investigated parameters into genetic and environmental contributions. A major genetic effect was evidenced on GH secretion during wakefulness (with a heritability estimate of 0.74) and, to a lesser extent, on the 24-h GH secretion. Significant genetic influences were also identified for slow wave sleep and height. These data demonstrate that human GH secretion in young adulthood is markedly dependent on genetic factors.

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