Endogenous growth hormone secretion and clearance rates in normal boys, as determined by deconvolution analysis: relationship to age, pubertal status, and body mass

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1992 Feb;74(2):336-44. doi: 10.1210/jcem.74.2.1730812.


Mean plasma GH concentrations increase in normal boys during mid- to late-puberty. To investigate the nature of the pituitary secretory events and/or altered metabolic clearance responsible for these serum GH concentration changes, we performed multiple-parameter deconvolution analysis of 46 24-h serum GH concentration-time series obtained from normal boys at various stages of puberty and young adulthood. The subjects ranged in chronological age from 7-27 yr. The height and weight of each subject were between the 5th and 95th percentile for age. The calculated daily mass of GH secreted was greatest (P less than 0.001) in late pubertal boys (mean +/- SE, 1810 +/- 250 micrograms/24 h) and was triple the value in prepubertal boys (610 +/- 65 micrograms/24 h). When the values were normalized and expressed as mass of GH secreted per unit (m2) body surface area or per L distribution volume, GH secretion in late pubertal boys was still significantly greater than that in any other group (P less than 0.05). These values for late pubertal boys were nearly double the corresponding values for prepubertal boys (1160 +/- 160 vs. 600 +/- 58 micrograms GH/m2.24 h and 440 +/- 63 vs. 270 +/- 25 micrograms GH/L vol.24 h, respectively). When the effect of clearance mechanics on serum GH concentrations was removed mathematically, the primary change in predicted GH secretory burst parameters during pubertal development was an increase in GH mass released per burst resulting from an increase in the maximal rate of GH secretion attained within the bursts. These changes in the amplitude of GH release events were specific, in that they were largely independent of any accompanying alterations in duration or frequency of the GH secretory bursts or in serum GH half-life. Correlation analysis revealed that the 24-h GH secretion rate varied inversely with the subjects' body mass index SD score (r = -0.65; P less than 0.01), suggesting that differences in body mass, even within the normal range, contribute to the wide variability in daily GH secretion rates among normally growing children. The plasma insulin-like growth factor-I concentrations of all subjects correlated positively with the calculated 24-h GH secretion rate (r = 0.51; P less than 0.001). In summary, the primary neuroendocrine alteration responsible for the augmented serum GH concentrations characterizing mid- to late-puberty in boys is an increased mass of GH released per pituitary secretory episode resulting from an increased maximal rate of GH secretion within each burst.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Body Weight*
  • Child
  • Growth Hormone / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Metabolic Clearance Rate
  • Puberty / physiology*
  • Reference Values


  • Growth Hormone