We present the characteristic features of 14 children with the recessive form of Robinow syndrome and the growth hormone (GH) response to provocation with clonidine and the serum insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) concentration in 12 of these children. The gonadotropin (luteinizing hormone [LH] and follicle-stimulating hormone [FSH]) response to gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) was evaluated in early pubertal and pubertal patients, and the testosterone response to human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) was evaluated in males. Children with Robinow syndrome, born at full-term, were short at birth (length, 41.4+/-2.1 cm) and had markedly slow growth velocity (GV) during the first year (13.1+/-2.1 cm/yr); consequently, they were significantly short at the end of the first year of life (length, 54.4+/-2.9 cm). This intrauterine and early extrauterine growth delay reflected low growth potential. During childhood, the GV standard deviation score (GVSDS) remained low (-2.17+/-0.83). Despite the presence of empty sella in all of the patients, they had an adequate GH response to clonidine provocation (peak, 19.3+/-5.8 microg/L) and a normal serum IGF-I concentration (309+/-142 ng/mL) for their age. During childhood and early adolescence, boys with Robinow syndrome had low basal testosterone and a low testosterone response to HCG stimulation (3,000 IU/m2/d intramuscularly [IM] for 3 days). However, their basal and GnRH-stimulated FSH concentrations were normal. Two girls (Tanner II breast development) had a normal serum estradiol (E2) concentration but high LH and FSH responses to GnRH stimulation. This suggested either defective feedback of E2 on the hypothalamic-pituitary axis or hyporesponsiveness of the ovaries to gonadotropin. Four weeks of HCG therapy (2,500 IU/m2 IM twice weekly) in three boys with Robinow syndrome increased the penile length and testicular volume, denoting a significant Leydig cell response to prolonged HCG stimulation and the presence of functioning androgen receptors. It is suggested that HCG and/or testosterone therapy during infancy may improve the severe micropenis in these patients.