The present clinical study implements a novel interventional strategy of short-term profound and selective blockade of GH receptors to reduce plasma insulin-like growth factor I (IGF-I) concentrations reversibly in healthy eumetabolic adults. Thereby, we examine the feedback role of systemic IGF-I on GH secretion without introducing the complex metabolic disarray that can otherwise accompany secondary IGF-I deprivation. To this end, we sampled blood at 10-min intervals for 10 h overnight in 8 men (aged 19-46 yr) and 4 women (aged 19-39 yr) to quantitate endogenous GH secretion and half-life 72 h after the prospective, randomly ordered, double blind, and within-subject cross-over administration of pegvisomant (1 mg/kg) or saline (0.5 mL) sc. Pegvisomant is an oligopegylated recombinant human GH peptide mutated to antagonize GH receptor-dependent signaling. Statistical analyses of paired plasma IGF-I concentrations and deconvolution-based quantitation of pulsatile GH secretion revealed that GH receptor blockade 1) suppressed fasting total IGF-I concentrations by 31%, viz. from (mean +/- SEM) 276 +/- 42 (placebo) to 190 +/- 20 microg/L (pegvisomant; P = 0.006) 84 h after drug injection; 2) increased the 10-h mean serum GH concentration by 71% from 1.4 +/- 0.33 (placebo) to 2.4 +/- 0.58 (pegvisomant; P = 0.024); 3) augmented the amplitude of underlying GH secretory bursts by 2.1-fold (i.e. from 0.13 +/- 0.032 to 0.27 +/- 0.076 microg/L.min; P = 0.0088); and 4) elevated the basal/nonpulsatile rate of GH secretion by 2.5-fold (from 2.3 +/- 0.77 to 5.07 +/- 1.8 microg/L.10 h; P = 0.022). The rise in the amplitude of GH secretory bursts correlated with the fall in plasma IGF-I concentrations (r = 0.603; P = 0.038). In contrast, IGF-I depletion did not alter GH secretory pulse frequency, half-duration, interpulse interval, percentage of pulsatile GH release, or half-life of endogenous GH. In summary, selective short-term reduction of systemic IGF-I concentrations in healthy eumetabolic adults drives GH secretion via the specific bipartite neuroregulatory mechanism of amplified GH secretory burst amplitude and elevated basal/nonpulsatile GH release. Endogenous GH half-life and frequency-related features of pulsatile GH secretion are not measurably affected, thus identifying a highly distinctive mode of IGF-I feedback-dependent control of GH output. As the increment in GH secretory burst amplitude correlated with the decrement in plasma IGF-I concentrations, we infer that variations in circulating IGF-I availability within the adult midphysiological range can influence pulsatile and basal GH production by way of negative feedback. Based on data in experimental animals, we speculate that the negative feedback actions of systemic IGF-I on GH secretion are mediated via increased hypothalamic somatostatin release, decreased GHRH (or GH-releasing peptide) secretion, and/or suppressed pituitary GH biosynthesis.