The growth hormone response to hexarelin in patients with different hypothalamic-pituitary abnormalities

The growth hormone response to hexarelin in patients with different hypothalamic-pituitary abnormalities / M. Maghnie, V. Spica-Russotto, M. Cappa, M. Autelli, C. Tinelli, P. Civolani, R. Deghenghi, F. Severi, S. Loche

  • Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism 83 (1998) 11 (1 November); p. 3886–3889
  • PMID: 9814463
  • DOI: 10.1210/jcem.83.11.5242


We evaluated the GH-releasing effect of hexarelin (Hex; 2 microg/kg, i.v.) and GHRH (1 microg/kg, i.v.) in 18 patients (11 males and 7 females, aged 2.5-20.4 yr) with GH deficiency (GHD) whose hypothalamic pituitary abnormalities had been previously characterized by dynamic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Ten patients had isolated GHD, and 8 had multiple pituitary hormone deficiency. All patients were receiving appropriate hormone replacement therapy. Twenty-four prepubertal short normal children (11 boys and 13 girls, aged 5.9-13 yr, body weight within +/-10% of ideal weight) served as controls. MRI studies revealed an ectopic posterior pituitary at the infundibular recess in all patients. A residual vascular component of the pituitary stalk was visualized in 8 patients with isolated GHD (group 1), whereas MRI showed the absence of the pituitary stalk (vascular and neural components) in the remaining 10 patients (group 2), of whom 8 had multiple pituitary hormone deficiency and 2 had isolated GHD. In the short normal children, the mean peak GH response to GHRH (24.8 +/- 4.4 microg/L) was significantly lower than that observed after Hex treatment (48.1 +/- 4.9 microg/L; P < 0.0001). In the GHD patients of group 2, the mean peak GH responses to GHRH (1.4 +/- 0.3 microg/L) and Hex (0.9 +/- 0.3 microg/L) were similar and markedly low. In the patients of group 1, the GH responses to GHRH (8.7 +/- 1.3 microg/L) and Hex (7.0 +/- 1.3 microg/L) were also similar, but were significantly higher that those observed in group 2 (P < 0.0001). In the whole group of patients, a significant correlation was found between the GH peaks after Hex and those after GHRH (r = 0.746; P < 0.0001). In this study we have confirmed that the integrity of the hypothalamic pituitary connections is essential for Hex to express its full GH-releasing activity and that Hex is able to stimulate GH secretion in patients with GHD but with a residual vascular component of the pituitary stalk.

Original document


Research / Study
1 November 1998
Autelli, M.
Cappa, Marco
Civolani, P.
Deghenghi, Romano
Loche, Sandro
Maghnie, M.
Severi, F.
Spica-Russotto, V.
Tinelli, C.
Other organisations
Università degli Studi di Pavia (UNIPV) - University of Pavia
Doping classes
S2. Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors
Examorelin (hexarelin)
Growth hormone (GH)
Growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH)
Medical terms
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT)
Document category
Scientific article
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Pdf file
Date generated
8 December 2021
Date of last modification
24 January 2022
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