Spontaneous nocturnal growth hormone secretion in anorexia nervosa: A cluster analysis study

A. I. Pincelli, M. Scacchi, A. Caumo, P. Tomasi, G. Delitala, F. Cavagnini

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The aim of this study was to investigate spontaneous growth hormone (GH) secretion in anorexia nervosa. Blood samples were collected at 20-minute intervals for a 12-hour period overnight from seven women suffering from anorexia nervosa (age, 21.2 ±1.8 years; body mass index, 13.4 ±0.4 kg/m2) and six healthy women of normal weight and comparable age. The GH content of the blood samples was measured by radioimmunoassay and analysed by the pulse detection algorithm Cluster [1]. The pulsatile nature of GH secretion was not only maintained, but enhanced in patients with anorexia nervosa (Table 1). The elevated interpulse GH levels are consistent with a reduction in hypothalamic somatostatin tone, while the increased frequency of GH pulses might be accounted for by an increased frequency of discharges of GH-releasing hormone. Table 1 Characteristics of GH secretion in patients with anorexia nervosa and in healthy individuals; values are means ±SEM Anorexic patients Healthy women P Number of pulses/12 hours 4.4 ±0.4 2.8 ±0.5 <0.05 Pulse width (minutes) 117.9 ±13.6 101.1 + 14.0 NS Pulse height (ug/l) 8.8 ±1.2 4.8±0.7 <0.01 Increment (ug/l) 3.2 ±0.5 3.9 ±0.6 NS Interpulse interval (minutes) 27.6 ±2.5 108.7 ±19.0 <0.01 Valley concentration (ug/l) 6.1 ±0.8 1.9 ±0.8 <0.01 Individual pulse area (ug/l/minute) 350.5 ±68.4 267.7 ±56.4 NS NS, not significant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140
Number of pages1
JournalEndocrinology and Metabolism, Supplement
Issue numberSUPPL. A
Publication statusPublished - 1996


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology

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