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J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1993 Jan;76(1):168-71.

Effect of growth hormone (GH)-releasing hormone (GHRH), atropine, pyridostigmine, or hypoglycemia on GHRP-6-induced GH secretion in man.

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Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Santiago, Santiago de Compostela, Spain.


His-DTrp-Ala-Trp-DPhe-Lys-NH2 (GHRP-6) is a synthetic compound that releases GH in a dose-related and specific manner in several species, including man. To further characterize the effects and mechanism of action of GHRP-6 on GH secretion, we assessed in normal man plasma GH responses to that hexapeptide 1) alone and in combination with exogenous GH-releasing hormone (GHRH) administration, 2) in a state of high endogenous somatostatinergic tone after atropine administration, and 3) in a state of low endogenous somatostatinergic tone induced by the cholinergic receptor agonist drug pyridostigmine or after insulin-induced hypoglycemia. We found a similar increase in plasma GH levels after the administration of either GHRP-6 (1 microgram/kg) or GHRH (1 microgram/kg); the areas under the curve (AUC) were (mean +/- SEM) 973 +/- 181 and 821 +/- 139, respectively. After combined GHRP-6 and GHRH administration, GH responses were considerably greater than those after either compound alone (4412 +/- 842; P < 0.01). Administration of the cholinergic receptor antagonist atropine (1 mg, im) completely prevented the GH responses to GHRP-6 (area under the curve, 103 +/- 14 vs. 815 +/- 156, respectively). On the other hand, pyridostigmine, a cholinergic agonist, slightly increased GH responses to GHRP-6 (P < 0.01 when comparing the AUC after pyridostigmine administration of 1571 +/- 151 and the AUC after administration of GHRP-6 alone of 815 +/- 156). Finally, combined GHRP-6 and insulin administration induced a much greater increase in plasma GH levels (AUC, 4047 +/- 327) than insulin alone (1747 +/- 229; P < 0.05) or GHRP-6 alone (1248 +/- 376; P < 0.05). Our results lend support to the view that GHRP-6-induced GH secretion is exerted through a non-GHRH-dependent mechanism. Furthermore, the fact that enhancement of somatostatinergic tone with atropine completely prevented the GH responses to GHRP-6, while pyridostigmine and insulin-induced hypoglycemia, which increased plasma GH levels by inhibiting hypothalamic somatostatin release, increased the same response suggest that although GHRP-6-induced GH secretion is dependent on the endogenous somatostatinergic tone, the stimulatory effect of GHRP-6 on plasma GH levels is not mediated by a change in hypothalamic somatostatinergic tone.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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