In mammals including human, it is generally accepted that growth hormone (GH) can regulate its own secretion through an autofeedback mechanism in which somatostatin (SRIF) may be involved. To explore a physiological role of SRIF-mediated GH autoregulation, the effect of exogenous human GH administration on plasma rat GH response to [D-Ala2, Me27]-human GH-releasing hormone-(l-28)-agmatine (hGHRH-analog), which does not crossreact with anti-rat GH-releasing hormone γ-globulin (GHRH-Ab), was examined in conscious male rats treated with GHRH-Ab in the absence and presence of anti-SRIF γ-globulin (SRIF-Ab). Enhanced SRIF release during a trough period of natural pulsatile GH secretion, suggested by the blunted GH response to exogenous hGHRH-analog, no longer occurred when major GH secretory bursts were abolished by GHRH-Ab treatment. On the other hand, when hGH was administered in GHRH-Ab-treated rats so as to simulate the quantity and dynamic change of GH in hypophysial portal circulation in rats exhibiting pulsatile GH secretion, hGHRH-analog-induced GH rises were significantly suppressed during the period corresponding to a GH trough. This suppression was completely prevented by simultaneous treatment with SRIF-Ab. Furthermore, administration of bovine GH, but not ovine prolactin, resulted in significant suppression of hGHRH-analog-provoked GH rises. These findings suggest that enhanced SRIF release during a trough period of spontaneous GH secretory rhythm is induced by the preceding GH secretory burst, and also suggest a possible role for SRIF-mediated GH autoregulation in a physiological state.

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