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We studied 24-h hormone profiles and hormonal responses to insulin-induced hypoglycaemia prospectively in 23 children of similar age and pubertal stage, nine of whom had received prior cranial irradiation (group 1) and fourteen of whom had not (group 2), before and 6-12 months after total body irradiation (TBI) for bone marrow transplantation in leukaemia. Fourier transformation demonstrated that group 1 children had a faster periodicity of GH secretion before TBI than group 2 children (160 vs 200 min) but the amplitude of their GH peaks was similar. There were no differences between the groups in circadian cortisol rhythm, serum concentrations of insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), sex steroids and basal thyroxine (T4). The peak serum GH concentrations observed after insulin-induced hypoglycaemia were similar between the two groups but the majority of patients had blunted responses. TBI increased the periodicity of GH secretion in both groups (group 1 vs group 2; 140 vs 180 min), but the tendency to attenuation of amplitude was not significant. There were no significant changes in the peak serum GH concentration response to insulin-induced hypoglycaemia which remained blunted. Serum IGF-I, sex steroid, cortisol or T4 concentrations were unchanged. Low-dose cranial irradiation has an effect on GH secretion affecting predominantly frequency modulation leading to fast frequency, normal amplitude GH pulsatility. This change is accentuated by TBI. In patients with leukemia, there is a marked discordance between the peak serum GH response to insulin-induced hypoglycaemia compared with the release of GH during 24-h studies, irrespective of the therapeutic regimen used.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Original publication




Journal article


J Endocrinol

Publication Date





331 - 338


Adolescent, Bone Marrow Transplantation, Child, Child, Preschool, Female, Growth Hormone, Humans, Hypoglycemia, Leukemia, Male, Secretory Rate, Whole-Body Irradiation