Estimation of growth hormone secretion rate: impact of kinetic assumptions intrinsic to the analytical approach.

Langendonk JG, Veldhuis JD, Burggraaf J, Schoemaker RC, Cohen AF, Meinders AE, Pijl H

We compared four common mathematical techniques to determine daily endogenous growth hormone (GH) secretion rates from diurnal plasma GH concentration profiles in 24 women (16 upper- or lower-body obese and 8 normal-weight individuals). Two forms of deconvolution analysis and two techniques based on a priori determined GH clearance estimates were employed. Deconvolution analyses revealed significant differences in the 24-h GH secretion rate between normal-weight and upper-body obese women, whereas the other two techniques did not. Moreover, deconvolution analyses predicted that the reduction in mean plasma GH concentrations in upper-body obese women was accounted for by impaired GH secretion, whereas the other methods suggested that obesity increases GH metabolic clearance. Thus we infer that disparate conclusions concerning GH secretion can be drawn from the same primary data set. The different inferences likely reflect dissimilar kinetic assumptions and the particular limitations intrinsic to each analytical approach. Accordingly, we urge caution in the facile comparison of calculated GH secretion data in humans, especially when kinetic and secretion measurements are performed under different conditions. The most appropriate way to determine the GH secretion rate in humans must be balanced by the exact intent of the experiment and the acceptability of different assumptions in that context.