Limitations in Defining Pulsatile Hormonal Secretion

A variety of clinical studies assessing the role of various modulators of GH secretion have used the measurement of spontaneous GH secretion over a 24-h period to define GH pulse frequency and GH pulse amplitude in a given subject. Investigators have faced difficulties as they attempted to define the characteristics of pulsatile endocrine signals. These problems include the relatively short half-life of GH which may limit the detection of low-amplitude or high-frequency GH pulses and assay sensitivity; the use of an immunoassay for measurement when the hormone-specific response depends on the bioactivity of the hormone; the ability to measure only a limited number of data points because continuous measurement of hormones by biosensors is not yet available (115); and a multitude of other factors, including state of nutrition, sleep, age, sex, and exercise, which influence GH secretion.

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