Properties of growth hormone and prolactin hypersecretion by the human infant on the day of birth

Francis De Zegher, Hugo Devlieger, Johannes D. Veldhuis

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50 Scopus citations


The neonatal period is the only interval in postnatal life characterized by physiologically elevated plasma concentrations of GH and PKL, two hormones of common origin. To study the secretion of GH and PRL on the day of birth, we obtained at regular intervals (every 20 min for 6 h) blood from seven polycythemic newborns (gestational age 34-41 weeks; birthweight 1600-3960 g; postnatal age 6-23 h) during a therapeutic, standardized, isovolumetric, partial exchange transfusion. Serum GH concentrations were measured by RIA and PRL levels by immunoradiometric assay. Deconvolution analysis of the profiles revealed that all infants displayed a pulsatile pattern of amplified GH release (range 9-191 μg/ L). Bursts of GH secretion occurred at a median interval of 73 min. The median serum GH half-life was 18 min. All infants had continuously elevated serum PRL concentrations (range 86-191 μg/L) and none appeared to release PRL episodically. There was no significant cross-correlation between the secretion of GH and PRL. Mean serum GH concentrations during the 6-h study were higher than in cord serum at birth, whereas PRL and insulin-like growth factor-1 levels were lower than at birth. In conclusion, the neonatal hypersomatotropism appears to be characterized by high-amplitude, high-frequency, pulsatile secretion of GH without a prolonged GH half-life, whereas hyperprolactinemia seems to result from GH-independent, continuous PRL release. The immediate postnatal rise of GH secretion in the human newborn may be related to decreased inhibition by circulating insulin-like growth factor-1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1177-1181
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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