Growth hormone: its measurement and the need for assay harmonization

Ann Clin Biochem. 2001 Sep;38(Pt 5):471-82. doi: 10.1177/000456320103800504.


Serum human growth hormone (hGH) assays show a wide range in bias and in cut-off values for provocative tests, which vary from 13.5 to 35-40 mU/L when they have been established. Studies using novel hGH assays show that methods that are absolutely specific for 22-kDa hGH may not identify bioactive hGH peaks and that 20:22-kDa hGH ratios are increased in acromegaly. Greater harmonization of serum hGH methods can be achieved by: changing from IS 80/505 to IS 98/574, which is calibrated in mass units of recombinant 22-kDa hGH; using monoclonal/polyclonal or polyclonal/polyclonal antibody combinations that measure both 20-kDa and 22-kDa hGH; the development of assays such as the immunofunctional hGH assay which has the convenience of an immunometric assay but gives results that correlate better with bioassays collaboration between manufacturers and laboratories to establish method-related cut-off limits for provocative tests of hGH status.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bias
  • Biological Assay / methods
  • Biological Assay / standards
  • Biological Assay / trends
  • Calibration
  • Growth Hormone / analysis*
  • Growth Hormone / blood
  • Growth Hormone / chemistry
  • Growth Hormone / immunology
  • Humans
  • Immunoassay / methods
  • Molecular Weight
  • Protein Binding
  • Protein Isoforms / analysis
  • Protein Isoforms / chemistry
  • Sensitivity and Specificity


  • Protein Isoforms
  • Growth Hormone