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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2003 Jul;88(7):3292-8.

The effect of growth hormone on the insulin-like growth factor system during fasting.

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Medical Department M (Endocrinology and Diabetes), Aarhus Kommunehospital, Aarhus, Denmark.


The present study investigates the possible stimulatory effect of endogenous GH on IGF and IGF-binding protein (IGFBP) levels during fasting. Eight normal subjects were examined on four occasions: 1) in the basal postabsorptive state; 2) after 40 h of fasting; 3) after 40 h of fasting with somatostatin suppression of GH; and 4) after 40 h of fasting with suppression of GH and exogenous GH replacement. The two somatostatin experiments were identical in terms of hormone replacement (except for GH). Short-term fasting led to a 50% reduction in free IGF-I. The reduction in free IGF-I was paralleled by an increase in IGFBP-1, an increase in the complex formation of IGFBP-1 and IGF-I, and a modest reduction in IGFBP-3 proteolysis. GH deprivation during fasting led to a 35% reduction in total IGF-I and a 70% reduction in free IGF-I. GH replacement increased free and total IGF-I to levels similar to those observed during plain fasting and decreased IGFBP-1, however, without affecting IGFBP-1-bound IGF-I. Finally, IGFBP-3 proteolysis was slightly increased by GH replacement. In conclusion, the major new finding of the present study is that the GH hypersecretion seen during short-term fasting is not merely secondary to a reduction in IGF bioactivity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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