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Human Growth Hormone (hGH)

hGH is a polypeptide hormone (molecular weight 21,500 Da) produced by the acidophil cells of the anterior pituitary under the control of two main substances from the median eminence : Growth-hormone Releasing Factor (GRF) and an inhibitory agent, somatostatin. Dopaminergic, adrenergic and serotoninergic neuroendocrine pathways also play an important role in the control of hGH secretion.

hGH hyposecretion is one of the various causes of small stature in children. Serum hGH measurement with a highly sensitive assay, especially following a provocative stimulus (absence of response), is an important way to establish this diagnosis because this group of patients can be treated by administration of hGH.
Serum hGH measurement is also an index of pituitary function when hypopituitarism (either idiopathic or due to tumour and surgery) is suspected.
Serum hGH measurement, especially following a provocative inhibitory test (absence of response), is an important way to establish the diagnosis of hGH hypersecretion due to acidophilic pituitary tumour. This results in gigantism in children and acromegaly in adults. Both of these disorders may be treated by surgery or radiation.

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