Turner syndrome is characterized by osteopenia and impaired skeletal growth. Neither feature is normalized by current modes of hormone therapy. The purpose of this study was to determine whether GH would increase protein anabolism and provide additional benefit to a regimen of estrogen replacement on calcium metabolism in girls and women with Turner syndrome. Using stable isotopes of calcium and leucine, we determined calcium absorption, urinary calcium loss, calcium retention, deposition into bone, leucine rate of appearance from protein, leucine incorporation into protein, and leucine oxidation in seven girls (10-17 y of age) and four adult females (16-34 y of age) with Turner syndrome, before and after 3 mo of GH treatment. All adults were treated with estrogen (ethinyl estradiol, 50 micrograms/d) and progesterone before and throughout the study. Three girls received no estrogen, and four girls were treated with low-dose estrogen (ethinyl estradiol, 5 micrograms/d) in combination with GH. The addition of estrogen to GH treatment resulted in a significant increase in calcium absorption and deposition in girls. GH did not affect calcium kinetics in adults already receiving estrogen/progesterone replacement therapy, nor did GH alone affect calcium kinetics in girls, and neither GH nor estrogen affected protein metabolism. These data suggest that the addition of low-dose estrogen to a regimen of GH improves bone deposition and calcium metabolism in girls with Turner syndrome and that estrogen is facultative for GH effects on bone.