Effect of Arginine Infusion on Ghrelin Secretion in Growth Hormone-Sufficient and GH-Deficient Children


avatar Flavia Prodam 2 , avatar Giulia Genoni 1 , avatar Simonetta Bellone 1 , avatar Silvia Longhi 3 , avatar Valentina Agarla 1 , avatar Gianni Bona 1 , avatar Giorgio Radetti 3 , *

Endocrinology, Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Piemonte Orientale, Italy
Division of Pediatrics, Department of Medical Sciences, University of Piemonte Orientale, Italy
Department of Pediatrics, Regional Hospital of Bolzano, giorgio.radetti@asbz.it, Italy

how to cite: Prodam F, Genoni G, Bellone S, Longhi S, Agarla V, et al. Effect of Arginine Infusion on Ghrelin Secretion in Growth Hormone-Sufficient and GH-Deficient Children. Int J Endocrinol Metab. 2012;10(2): 470-474. https://doi.org/10.5812/ijem.3826.



The physiological link between ghrelin and growth hormone (GH) has not yet been fully clarified. Furthermore, the existence of a negative feedback mechanism between growth hormoneinsulin-like growth factor (GHIGF)-I axis and ghrelin and the influence of amino acids on ghrelin secretion in children remain matters of debate.


To understand the regulation of ghrelin secretion and clarify the relationship between ghrelin and GH secretion in GH-deficient (GHD) and GH-sufficient (GHS) children.

Patients and Methods:

Ten GHD (male/female [M/F], 6/4; age [mean SEM], 10.7 0.9 years) and 10 GHS prepubertal children (M/F, 6/4; age [mean SEM], 10.3 0.6 years), underwent an arginine (ARG) test (infusion, 0.5 g/kg, iv). Levels of GH, total ghrelin, and acylated ghrelin (AG) were assayed every 30 min from 0 to +120 min.


Peak GH values were lower in GHD subjects than in GHS subjects (P < 0.0001). The baseline levels, peak levels, or area under the curves (AUC) for total ghrelin and AG were similar between GHD and GHS children. ARG infusion was followed by a slight to significant decrease in total ghrelin levels, but not AG levels, both in GHD and GHS subjects with a nadir at +30 min. No correlation was seen between GH, total ghrelin, or AG response and ARG infusion.


Total ghrelin and AG levels seemed unaffected by GH status in prepubertal children. ARG infusion was unable to blunt ghrelin secretion irrespective of GH status in childhood. Moreover, since ARG influences GH secretion via modulation of somatostatin release, ghrelin secretion seems to be partially refractory to somatostatin action.

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