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Growth hormone secretagogues in pathological states: diagnostic implications

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The identification and cloning of the receptor for synthetic growth hormone (GH) secretagogues, even before the endogenous ligand has been identified or its precise physiological role established, suggests that there is a novel target of action for this class of drug. In an attempt to select patients who will benefit from GH treatment, GH secretagogues are being evaluated for their usefulness in diagnosing GH deficiency. The effects of GH‐releasing peptides (GHRPs) on GH release as a function of age and metabolic status, and in different neuroendocrine pathologies, are described, as are the different mechanisms of action, potency and reproducibility of the response to GHRPs compared with GH‐releasing hormone (GHRH). GHRPs offer the advantage over GHRH in natural models of deranged GH secretion in that, in various metabolic states (e.g. obesity, anorexia nervosa and non‐insulin‐dependent diabetes mellitus), the GH response to GHRH is more impaired than it is to GHRPs. However, in some neuroendocrine pathologies, the reverse is true. Thus, both secretagogues provide separate information on the physiological status of somatotrophs. □ Growth hormone‐releasing peptide‐6, growth hormone‐releasing hormone, hexarelin, metabolic derangements, neuroendocrine pathologies
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Document Type: Review Article

Affiliations: 1: University Clinical Centre, and Institute of Oncology and Radiology, Santiago de Compostela, Spain 2: Belgrade, Yugoslavia; Departments of Physiology, Santiago de Compostela, Spain 3: Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Santiago de Compostela University, Santiago de Compostela, Spain

Publication date: 1997-11-01

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