A Low Dose of Ghrelin Stimulates Growth Hormone (GH) Release Synergistically With GH-releasing Hormone in Humans

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2001 Sep;86(9):4552. doi: 10.1210/jcem.86.9.8002.


The synergistic relationship between GH-releasing secretagogue (GHS) and GH-releasing hormone (GHRH) with respect to GH secretion is well known. In the present study, we report a similar relationship between GHRH and ghrelin, a recently identified endogenous ligand for the GHS receptor. In normal male adults, various doses of ghrelin were intravenously administered alone or together with 1.0 microg/kg GHRH. At small doses of 0.08 and 0.2 microg/kg ghrelin, combined administration of the two peptides significantly stimulated GH release in a synergistic manner; the mean GH response values of the two peptide combinations were more than the summed mean GH response values of each peptide alone (P < 0.05). In addition, at 1.0 microg/kg ghrelin, the tendency of the synergistic effect was observed, although the comparison was not statistically significant probably due to a submaximal dose ceiling effect. No synergistic effects with respect to ACTH or prolactin secretion were observed. In conclusion, the synergistic interaction between ghrelin and GHRH was clearly shown and might be useful for a provocation test to diagnose GH deficiency.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone / blood
  • Adult
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Drug Synergism
  • Ghrelin
  • Growth Hormone-Releasing Hormone / pharmacology*
  • Human Growth Hormone / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Peptide Hormones*
  • Peptides / pharmacology*
  • Pituitary Hormones, Anterior / blood
  • Prolactin / blood


  • Ghrelin
  • Peptide Hormones
  • Peptides
  • Pituitary Hormones, Anterior
  • Human Growth Hormone
  • Adrenocorticotropic Hormone
  • Prolactin
  • Growth Hormone-Releasing Hormone
  • Hydrocortisone