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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1991 Aug;73(2):428-35.

Spontaneous growth hormone secretion increases during puberty in normal girls and boys.

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1
Developmental Endocrinology Branch, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.

Abstract

To test the hypothesis that GH secretion increases during puberty, we measured GH levels in samples obtained every 20 min for 24 h from 132 normal children and adolescents. In both girls and boys, GH levels increased during puberty. The increase in mean levels was earlier in girls than boys, was most evident at night, and was due to increased pulse amplitude rather than a change in pulse frequency. The mean nighttime GH level in girls with bone ages (BA) greater than 12 to 14 yr were significantly greater than the mean level in girls with BA less than 8 yr (7.3 +/- 3.0 vs. 3.4 +/- 1.7 micrograms/L; P less than 0.01) and were greatest at breast stage 3 (7.9 +/- 2.5 micrograms/L). GH pulse amplitude increased significantly before pubertal onset in girls and was significantly greater at BA greater than 12 to 14 yr than at BA of 8 yr or less (13.9 +/- 6.0 vs. 7.9 +/- 4.8 micrograms/L; P less than 0.01) and greatest at breast stage 3 (15.0 +/- 6.3 micrograms/L). The pubertal increase in GH secretion was delayed in boys compared to girls, with the lowest mean 24-h GH and mean nighttime GH values in boys with BA greater than 8 to 11 yr. The mean nighttime GH level at BA greater than 11 to 13 yr in boys was significantly greater than that in the boys with BA greater than 8 to 11 yr (5.8 +/- 2.9 vs. 3.5 +/- 2.1 micrograms/L; P less than 0.05) and was greatest at a testicular volume of more than 10 to 15 mL (6.5 +/- 2.0 micrograms/L). The mean nighttime GH pulse amplitude in boys was significantly greater at BA greater than 11 to 13 yr than at BA greater than 8 to 11 yr (13.9 +/- 5.7vs. 7.3 + 2.6 micrograms/L, P less than 0.05) and was greatest at a testicular volume greater than 20 mL (15.8 +/- 12.0 micrograms/L). The mean nighttime GH levels correlated inversely with body mass index in both sexes, although the correlation achieved statistical significance only for the girls, being stronger in breast stage 3 to 5 girls (r = -0.57 P = 0.0007; n = 32) than in stage 1 and 2 girls (r = -0.38; P = 0.03; n = 32). These observations in normal adolescents emphasize the importance of interpreting spontaneous GH levels in short children in relation to normative data appropriate for sex, body mass, and bone age or pubertal stage.

PMID:
1856268
DOI:
10.1210/jcem-73-2-428
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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