Free fatty acids block growth hormone (GH) releasing hormone-stimulated gh secretion in man directly at the pituitary

F. F. Casanueva, L. Villanueva, C. Dieguez, Y. Diaz, J. A. Cabranes, B. Szoke, M. F. Scanlon, A. V. Schally, A. Fernandez-Cruz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

164 Scopus citations


Increases in plasma FFA levels inhibit GH responses to a variety of pharmacological and physiological stimuli. To gain further insight into the mechanism by which FFA exert their effect, we studied the plasma GH responses to GHRH-(1-44) (1 μg/kg, iv) in normal subjects in whom plasma FFA levels were raised by a lipid-heparin infusion (250 mL 10% Intralipid plus 2500 U heparin). Paired tests were performed in 10 normal subjects, with and without lipid-heparin pretreatment. Lipid-heparin infusion from -30 to 120 min increased mean FFA levels from 0.41 ± 0.03 (±SEM) to 3.12 ± 0.40 mmol/L at 120 min. The mean plasma GH levels after GHRH administration were lower at all times; however, the values were significantly different (P < 0.05) only at the later times (45, 60, and 90 min). When considered individually, an all or none pattern was observed; 5 subjects had no plasma GH response to GHRH, and 5 had no reduction. To investigate the time relationships between the FFA peak and subsequent GH blockade, a different protocol of paired tests was performed with GHRH with or without a different lipid-heparin infusion protocol. Lipid-heparin was infused from -90 to 0 min, with an additional heparin pulse at -15 min, to obtain a higher and earlier (0 min) FFA increase. FFA increased from 1.06 ± 0.19 to 11.61 ± 0.83 mmol/L at zero time. The GHRH-induced GH secretory peak (15.8 ± 3.5 ng/ml) at 15 min was completely blocked (0.9 ± 0.2 ng/ml), and the mean plasma GH levels were also lower at 30, 45, and 60 min. To determine whether the FFA-induced blockade of GH secretion was exerted in the pituitary, a series of in vitro studies was conducted using monolayer cultures of rat anterior pituitary glands, with GHRH concentrations of both 10-10 and 10-8 M and 10-5 M forskolin to stimulate GH release. Both caprylic and oleic acid inhibited basal GH release and GHRH- or forskolin-induced GH release. PRL release was not altered, nor were toxic actions noted on the cells. In conclusion, FFA are able to block GH secretion directly at the pituitary level.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)634-642
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


Dive into the research topics of 'Free fatty acids block growth hormone (GH) releasing hormone-stimulated gh secretion in man directly at the pituitary'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this