Pituitary responsiveness to GH-releasing hormone, GH-releasing peptide-2 and thyrotrophin-releasing hormone in critical illness.Clin Endocrinol (Oxf). 1996 Sep; 45(3):341-51.CE
Protein hypercatabolism and preservation of fat depots are hallmarks of critical illness, which is associated with blunted pulsatile GH secretion and low circulating IGF-I, TSH, T4 and T3. Repetitive TRH administration is known to reactivate the pituitary-thyroid axis and to evoke paradoxical GH release in critical illness. We further explored the hypothalamic-pituitary function in critical illness by examining the effects of GH-releasing hormone (GHRH) and/or GH-releasing peptide-2 (GHRP-2) and TRH administration.
PATIENTS AND DESIGN
Critically ill adults (n = 40; mean age 55 years) received two i.v. boluses with a 6-hour interval (0900 and 1500 h) within a cross-over design. Patients were randomized to receive consecutively placebo and GHRP-2 (n = 10), GHRH and GHRP-2 (n = 10), GHRP-2 and GHRH+GHRP-2 (n = 10), GHRH+GHRP-2 and GHRH+GHRP-2 + TRH (n = 10). The GHRH and GHRP-2 doses were 1 microgram/kg and the TRH dose was 200 micrograms. Blood samples were obtained before and 20, 40, 60 and 120 minutes after each injection.
Serum concentrations of GH, T4, T3, rT3, thyroid hormone binding globulin (TBG), IGF-I, insulin and cortisol were measured by RIA; PRL and TSH concentrations were determined by IRMA.
Critically ill patients presented a striking GH response to GHRP-2 (mean +/- SEM peak GH 51 +/- 9 micrograms/l in older patients and 102 +/- 26 micrograms/l in younger patients; P = 0.005 vs placebo). The mean GH response to GHRP-2 was more than fourfold higher than to GHRH (P = 0.007). In turn, the mean GH response to GHRH+GHRP-2 was 2.5-fold higher than to GHRP-2 alone (P = 0.01), indicating synergism. Adding TRH to the GHRH+GHRP-2 combination slightly blunted this mean response by 18% (P = 0.01). GHRP-2 had no effect on serum TSH concentrations whereas both GHRH and GHRH+GHRP-2 evoked an increase in peak TSH levels of 53 and 32% respectively. The addition of TRH further increased this TSH response > ninefold (P = 0.005), elicited a 60% rise in serum T3 (P = 0.01) and an 18% increase in T4 (P = 0.005) levels, without altering rT3 or TBG levels. GHRH and/or GHRP-2 induced a small increase in serum PRL levels. The addition of TRH magnified the PRL response 2.4-fold (P = 0.007). GHRP-2 increased basal serum cortisol levels (531 +/- 29 nmol/l) by 35% (P = 0.02); GHRH provoked no additional response, but adding TRH further increased the cortisol response by 20% (P = 0.05).
The specific character of hypothalamic-pituitary function in critical illness is herewith extended to the responsiveness to GHRH and/or GHRP-2 and TRH. The observation of striking bursts of GH secretion elicited by GHRP-2 and particularly by GHRH+GHRP-2 in patients with low spontaneous GH peaks opens the possibility of therapeutic perspectives for GH secretagogues in critical care medicine.