Actions of estrogen on pulsatile, nyctohemeral, and entropic modes of growth hormone secretion

N. Shah, W. S. Evans, J. D. Veldhuis

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82 Scopus citations


The neuroendocrine mechanisms by which estradiol drives growth hormone (GH) secretion in the human are poorly defined. Here we investigate estrogen's specific regulation of the 24-h pulsatile, nyctohemeral, and entropic modes of GH secretion in healthy postmenopausal women. Volunteers (n = 9) received randomly ordered placebo versus estradiol-17β (1 mg micronized steroid twice daily orally) treatment for 7-10 days and underwent blood sampling at 10-min intervals for 24 h to capture GH release profiles quantitated in a high-sensitivity chemiluminescence assay. Pulsatile GH secretion was appraised via deconvolution analysis, nyctohemeral GH rhythms by cosinor analysis, and the orderliness of GH release patterns via the approximate entropy statistic. Mean (±SE) 24-h serum GH concentrations approximately doubled on estrogen treatment (viz., from 0.31 ± 0.03 to 0.51 ± 0.07 μg/l; P = 0.033). Concomitantly, serum insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), luteinizing hormone, and follicle-stimulating hormone concentrations fell, whereas thyroid-stimulating hormone and prolactin levels rose (P < 0.01). The specific neuroendocrine action of estradiol included 1) a twofold amplified mass of GH secreted per burst, with no significant changes in basal GH release, half-life, pulse frequency, or duration; 2) an augmented amplitude and mesor of the 24-h rhythm in GH release, with no alteration in acrophase; and 3) greater disorderliness of GH release (higher approximate entropy). These distinctive and dynamic reactions to estrogen are consistent with partial withdrawal of IGF-I's negative feedback and/or accentuated central drive to GH secretion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)R1351-R1358
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number5 45-5
StatePublished - May 1999


  • Circadian rhythm
  • Estradiol
  • Pulse episode
  • Sex steroid
  • Somatotropin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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