Lack of effect of hexarelin on TRH-induced TSH response in normal adult man

M. Arosio, G. Casati, O. Biella, S. Porretti, B. P. Imbimbo, G. Faglia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The mechanism of action of the synthetic growth hormone (GH)releasing peptide hexarelin is not yet fully understood. Although a direct effect on pituitary cells has been demonstrated, the peptide is also active at hypothalamic level, where specific binding sites have been found. The observation that hexarelin acts synergistically with GH-releasing hormone (GHRH) in releasing GH has suggested that it might suppress endogenous somatostatin secretion. As somatostatin is also inhibitory on TSH secretion, to verify the occurrence of modifications of the somatostatinergic tone induced by hexarelin, we studied its effects on TRH-induced TSH secretion. Seven normal subjects (4 women and 3 men aged 24-29 years) underwent the following tests on 3 different days: a) TRH (200 μg/l iv) + placebo; b) hexarelin (1 μg/Kg bw iv) + placebo c) combined TRH + hexarelin administration. Hexarelin induced significant and similar increases in serum GH levels when given in combination either with placebo or with TRH (1217 ± 470 vs 986 ± 208 μg/min/l p:NS), while no modifications of GH levels were seen after TRH + placebo. Serum TSH levels were unmodified by hexarelin + placebo injection. The TSH increase elicited by hexarelin + TRH was superimposable to that elicited by TRH +placebo (1124 ± 530 and 1273 ± 380 mU/min/l respectively). Circulating PRL levels slightly increased after hexarelin + placebo too (897 μg/min/l), and the PRL response to hexarelin + TRH was slightly, although not significantly, greater than that observed after TRH + placebo (2680 ± 1517 and 2243 ± 1108 μg/min/l, respectively). In conclusion, our data show that hexarelin does not alter basal and TRH-stimulated TSH secretion, thus suggesting that it does not inhibit somatostatin release. Furthermore a modest PRL-releasing effect of this peptide has been confirmed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-244
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Endocrinological Investigation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1998


  • ACTH
  • Cortisol
  • GH
  • GHRPs
  • Hexarelin
  • PRL
  • Somatostatin
  • Somatostatinergic tone
  • TSH

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology


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