Transient Partial hGH Deficiency in Prepubertal Children with Delay of Growth

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The hGH response to an ornithin or an insulin test was measured in 105 children from 11–18 yr old with delay of growth more than 2 SD. Besides 74 subjects with normal values and 7 with complete lack of response, 24 subjects exhibited a partial rise of GH. Most of the latter had decreasing growth rate and no sign of puberty. Out of 15 assessed for GH function after onset of puberty, 14 showed a normal response accompanying a markedly increased growth velocity. Four other subjects with partial response who were receiving sexual hormones for 48 hr before the second test showed a normal response also. An exogenous hGH treatment administered in two of these patients resulted in a marked and sustained growth increase far before entering puberty.


The findings that plasma GH responses to stimulation tests is reduced in some children with decreasing growth rate before puberty and return to normal after onset of sexual development, would suggest a transient and functional defect in growth hormone secretion and the physiologic role of sexual hormones on GH release mechanism at that period of life.

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