Growth hormone (GH) response to clonidine and growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH) stimulation, together with baseline somatomedin C (SmC) levels, were examined in parallel in a group of 21 patients with anorexia nervosa (AN) and in 10 controls. In addition, the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRS) was administered to the patients. Clonidine (2.5 μg/kg body weight, iv) induced GH elevations that were not significantly different between patients and controls. In contrast, GHRH (1 μg/kg body weight, iv) produced a significantly higher GH response in anorectics than in controls. The ratio between GH responses (area under the curve, or AUC) to GHRH and to clonidine was significantly higher in patients than in controls. Baseline SmC levels (6 patients) were significantly lower in anorectics than in controls. Minor depressive symptomatology was present in all patients. When viewed in relation to the GH hyperresponsiveness to GHRH, the apparent normality of the response to clonidine in anorectics reflects the existence of an actual α2-adrenoceptor subsensitivity. As clonidine reportedly acts via release of endogenous GHRH, an excessive, rather than a normal, GH response to clonidine was to be anticipated.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biological Psychiatry