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Horm Res. 1999;51 Suppl 3:29-33.

Growth hormone secretagogues: the clinical future.

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Institute of Endocrinology, Belgrade, Yugoslavia.


Growth hormone (GH) releasing hexapeptide (GHRP)-6 and other peptidergic and non-peptidergic compounds collectively designated GH secretagogues (GHS) are potent releasers of GH in man. Their clinical future may be envisioned in three areas: therapy of GH-deficient (GHD) states, diagnosis of GHD, and non-endocrinological actions. As therapeutic agents and compared with GH itself, GHS have the disadvantage of lower potency but have a more physiological and safer profile of GH secretion. GHS administration could be indicated for states in which medium GH doses have been shown to be effective. As a diagnostic tool, the combined administration of GH releasing hormone plus GHRP-6, both at saturating doses, is currently the most powerful releaser of GH, devoid of side effects and convenient for the patient; it may also be an alternative to the insulin tolerance test for the diagnosis of GHD in adult patients. Their potential action at cardiovascular level is highly promising. Although the clinical future of GH releasing substances is appealing, probably the most relevant contribution has yet to be discovered. Once the endogenous ligand of the GHS receptor is identified, we will have an insight into the real hypothalamic control of GH secretion in man. With this knowledge it is likely that some diagnostic and therapeutic actions that are commonly undertaken will significantly change.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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