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Three recently published new assays are described for the measurement of growth hormone (GH). Two of these – the eluted stain assay (ESTA) and the immunofunctional assay (IFA) – have been developed to measure the bioactivity of GH, rather than the immunoactivity as measured
by conventional radioimmunoassays (RIAs). The third assay – the 22 kDa exclusion assay (22 k GHEA) – is designed to measure the concentrations of the different isoforms of GH present in the circulation. The ESTA is a variant of the Nb2 bioassay for lactogenic hormones, but has
been adapted for specific GH measurement in serum samples. It has a lower detection limit than previous bioassays and permits the quantification of GH in large series of samples. The IFA uses a binding‐site‐specific antibody in combination with GH‐binding protein (GHBP)
in order to quantify only those GH molecules that are able to dimerize the extracellular domain of the GH receptor (GHBP), which is a prerequisite for GH signal transduction in target cells. The IFA is as convenient to use as immunoassays and can be employed routinely for GH determinations.
The clinical usefulness of the 22 k GHEA has not been established, but it should provide a means of augmenting our understanding of the regulation of GH and its various isoforms. Once the ESTA bioassay or the IFA become commercially and widely available, either could replace the RIA as the
standard reference method for measuring GH, as both more closely reflect the biologically active proportion of GH in serum samples than that measured by RIA. □ Growth hormone assays, eluted stain assay, immunofunctional assay, bioassay, 22 kDa growth hormone exclusion assay, growth